Señor Sisig Innovates with Food and Finance

Señor Evan Kidera and Chef Gil Payumo

At a time in San Francisco when even modest up-and-coming restaurants involve multi-million dollar renovations, the food truck has become the incubator of food innovation. It also thrives in a city where customers shun giant chains but still demand food that is fresh, cheap and fast,

None more so than Señor Sisig, a Filipino and Mexican fusion kitchen on wheels that often sees long lines and obsessed foodies clambering for a plate of their signature plate, sisig. It has been called “an umami bomb of a dish,” made from a grilled pork shoulder hash with a sizzling egg on top and a side of garlic rice. The dish is a traditional Filipino favorite, which in its new incorporation adds some Mexican flavor and of course, a burrito option.

After getting a business degree from SF State and working in management for eight years, Señor Sisig cofounder Evan Kidera happened to take a trip to Southern California, where he witnessed the potential of the food truck business, which was all the rage down there. With parents in the food business, he had always known his way around an industrial kitchen. Watching lines of dozens of people patiently pay and wait for hot, inventive food coming out of vehicles, he understood his future path.

Back in San Francisco, where most of the food trucks were only serving tacos, Kidera did his research into the market. He then partnered with his old friend Gil Payumo, who had recently graduated from the California Culinary Academy and was working as a sous chef at the San Mateo Marriott. The two concocted the idea of marrying Mexican aesthetics with Filipino flavors. “The general public is so familiar with and craves all sorts of Mexican food,” Kidera says, “but they’re also looking for new flavors and healthy ingredients, so we serve burritos, tacos, and nachos, with all vegetarian options.”

Payumo’s father was born in Pampanga, a region outside of Manila in the Philippines. His family had a traditional sisig recipe that Payumo resurrected. Although sisig is customarily made from pig's head, Payumo substitutes the more palatable pork shoulder, and also chicken and tofu. The protein is charbroiled and marinated for over a day in a blend of citrus and spices. Then it goes into the Señor Sisig burrito (made with adobo garlic rice, pinto beans, lettuce, pico de gallo and cilantro cream sauce), six-inch sisig tacos (with onions, lettuce and cilantro cream sauce) and the sisig fries, crispy shoestring fries topped with pork, nacho cheese, and all the fixings.

Over 18 months, they fashioned a bold logo of a fiery hog ready to butcher, developed and tested all their recipes, got their permits and licenses and opened their doors in 2010. Within a few years, they expanded to five trucks, and they now operate in at least six sites across the Bay area, with patrons keeping track of them through social media. Every Saturday and Sunday, they also operate a permanent spot at 701 Valencia St. in the Mission.

While Kidera has been managing operations and growth for the business over the past eight years, he also picked up an MBA from SF State. His top-level business skills help him bring financial innovation to an already cutting-edge market. Señor Sisig went cashless last year when Kidera realized that one of his senior staff members was wasting too much time counting cash, which only represented 19 percent of the company’s payments, down from 70 percent when they opened. The hidden costs of cash add up—businesses have to pay for staff time, armored cars and bank deposit fees. “I don’t want to run a bank. We want to run food,” Kidera said. So now every truck is equipped with Square card readers, and every customer can be processed quickly with a card swipe.

Kidera is excited to be a part of the SoMa food truck community near the new 5M development. “When we open a new location, it’s so exciting to see the new demand. The line is usually long, but everyone always says that it’s worth the wait,” said Kidera. “This location is great because we’ll have the support of the local Filipino community and lots of new folks to introduce to the pleasures of sisig.”  

Find Señor Sisig near you: https://www.senorsisig.com/find-us

Photo Credits:
Banner: Mogli - creative@themogli.com
Story photos: Señor Sisig

At a time in San Francisco when even modest up-and-coming restaurants involve multi-million dollar renovations, the food truck has become the incubator of food innovation. It also thrives in a city where customers shun giant chains but still demand food that is fresh, cheap and fast,

None more so than Señor Sisig, a Filipino and Mexican fusion kitchen on wheels that often sees long lines and obsessed foodies clambering for a plate of their signature plate, sisig. It has been called “an umami bomb of a dish,” made from a grilled pork shoulder hash with a sizzling egg on top and a side of garlic rice. The dish is a traditional Filipino favorite, which in its new incorporation adds some Mexican flavor and of course, a burrito option.

After getting a business degree from SF State and working in management for eight years, Señor Sisig cofounder Evan Kidera happened to take a trip to Southern California, where he witnessed the potential of the food truck business, which was all the rage down there. With parents in the food business, he had always known his way around an industrial kitchen. Watching lines of dozens of people patiently pay and wait for hot, inventive food coming out of vehicles, he understood his future path.

Señor Evan Kidera and Chef Gil Payumo

Back in San Francisco, where most of the food trucks were only serving tacos, Kidera did his research into the market. He then partnered with his old friend Gil Payumo, who had recently graduated from the California Culinary Academy and was working as a sous chef at the San Mateo Marriott. The two concocted the idea of marrying Mexican aesthetics with Filipino flavors. “The general public is so familiar with and craves all sorts of Mexican food,” Kidera says, “but they’re also looking for new flavors and healthy ingredients, so we serve burritos, tacos, and nachos, with all vegetarian options.”

Payumo’s father was born in Pampanga, a region outside of Manila in the Philippines. His family had a traditional sisig recipe that Payumo resurrected. Although sisig is customarily made from pig's head, Payumo substitutes the more palatable pork shoulder, and also chicken and tofu. The protein is charbroiled and marinated for over a day in a blend of citrus and spices. Then it goes into the Señor Sisig burrito (made with adobo garlic rice, pinto beans, lettuce, pico de gallo and cilantro cream sauce), six-inch sisig tacos (with onions, lettuce and cilantro cream sauce) and the sisig fries, crispy shoestring fries topped with pork, nacho cheese, and all the fixings.

Over 18 months, they fashioned a bold logo of a fiery hog ready to butcher, developed and tested all their recipes, got their permits and licenses and opened their doors in 2010. Within a few years, they expanded to five trucks, and they now operate in at least six sites across the Bay area, with patrons keeping track of them through social media. Every Saturday and Sunday, they also operate a permanent spot at 701 Valencia St. in the Mission.

While Kidera has been managing operations and growth for the business over the past eight years, he also picked up an MBA from SF State. His top-level business skills help him bring financial innovation to an already cutting-edge market. Señor Sisig went cashless last year when Kidera realized that one of his senior staff members was wasting too much time counting cash, which only represented 19 percent of the company’s payments, down from 70 percent when they opened. The hidden costs of cash add up—businesses have to pay for staff time, armored cars and bank deposit fees. “I don’t want to run a bank. We want to run food,” Kidera said. So now every truck is equipped with Square card readers, and every customer can be processed quickly with a card swipe.

Kidera is excited to be a part of the SoMa food truck community near the new 5M development. “When we open a new location, it’s so exciting to see the new demand. The line is usually long, but everyone always says that it’s worth the wait,” said Kidera. “This location is great because we’ll have the support of the local Filipino community and lots of new folks to introduce to the pleasures of sisig.”  

Find Señor Sisig near you: https://www.senorsisig.com/find-us

Photo Credits:
Banner: Mogli - creative@themogli.com
Story photos: Señor Sisig

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