Meet Marcia Gagliardi: the Woman Behind San Francisco’s

Meet Marcia Gagliardi: the Woman Behind San Francisco’s

Meet San Francisco’s  “culinary concierge” Marcia Gagliardi, a prominent voice for Bay Area foodies since 1994. She founded the popular food blog Tablehopper, released her first book in 2010, launched a late night dining app, and even started doing a podcast over the pandemic.

Where did you grow up?

I am from the Peninsula — San Mateo — but have lived here (San Francisco) for 27 years.

Were you raised in a foodie household?

Yes, I am from an Italian family. At one point we had a pizzeria and a delicatessen. I lived in Italy for a year when I was 19 which really solidified my love for food. Also, studying at UCLA exposed me to a lot of great food in LA.

AnchovyBaroutside_Marcia Gagliardi ©
Photo: Anchovy Bar by Marcia Gagliardi ©

What gave you the idea to start tablehopper?

About 15 years ago there was nothing about the restaurant and bar scene. No one was covering the city the way I liked to experience it. I came up with the idea of a newsletter and kind of became my own publisher. 

How did the podcast evolve?

It was all because of Covid. I’ve been writing about the food scene here for over 15 years, so I know a lot of operators, friends, chefs. When the pandemic started, I was talking with all these people and checking in on them and seeing all the ways restaurants were trying to adapt. 

I realized the stories that I was hearing, people needed to hear them. It wouldn’t have the same impact if it was just me writing. What was happening in the community was concerning. There was a tremendous amount of homelessness. There were over 600 tents in the Tenderloin and I was really concerned. A friend was cooking food for the neighborhood and delivering it, so I wanted to tell her story. A bar owner and how they handle the pandemic. There were so many different facets to the restaurant industry that I thought needed to be heard. 

Then the Black Lives Matter movement happened, and that was an important time for storytelling of black chefs whom I’ve known for a long time. I wanted people to know their story and their thoughts on how things are. 

Otra_800x450_PC_Marcia Gagliardi ©
Photo: Otra by Marcia Gagliardi ©

Any food trends in San Francisco that you are a big fan of?

More and more people are continuing to see that we don’t need meat in every meal. Especially in the bay area where we have so many great vegetables. To tie into that health theme, lowering alcohol content in beverages. We don’t need too much alcohol in a drink. People don’t want things that have so much alcohol in them, or even just non alcoholic drinks. 

We are so lucky that we can comfort ourselves with food. I would love people to have more body positivity because we have come through a very traumatic experience and anything that can bring us joy especially if it’s something you can eat and now that we can share food again. 

What is your ultimate goal you want your readers and listeners to get from your work?

Everything I do, everything I write, I am writing to people like they are my friends. For me it’s important to be a voice of positivity, I like to be enthusiastic, and to share things and people and places I am excited about. To uplift female-owned and BIPOC-owned businesses. 

Do you have a favorite restaurant in San Francisco?

If I was never gonna be allowed to come back to San Francisco again, the last place I would eat is Swan Oyster Depot. It is the heart of San Francisco. A classic that has been around for so long. The coolest family runs it and you become family if you go there.

Check out Marcia’s reviews on her blog, tablehopper, and listen to her podcast on Spotify or iTunes.

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