Outside Lands, billed as the world’s “only gourmet music festival,” may be one of the only music festivals whose food and drink lineup is as much of a story as who is headlining.
Outside Lands, which will return to San Francisco on August 11–13 for the 15th consecutive year, has been increasing the quality and diversity of its culinary offerings for over a decade and a half, each year surpassing the last.
“Our vision for Outside Lands has always been to create a unique celebration of San Francisco and the Bay Area, setting it apart from other festivals,” explains Allen Scott, President of Concerts and Festivals at Another Planet Entertainment.
One way we’ve accomplished this is by recognizing and showcasing the exceptional quality of the region’s restaurants, wineries, and distilleries at Outside Lands.
The combination of exceptional culinary offerings and incredible music is what makes Outside Lands truly unique. While it has become more common for festivals to offer enhanced menu options, none can match the breadth and variety of food and drink experiences at Outside Lands.
According to Scott, the foundations of the festival have always been music, cuisine, wine, beer, and art. Despite the introduction of new areas such as Grass Lands and Cocktail Magic over the years, the emphasis on exceptional cuisine, wine, and beer has remained constant.
Outside Lands is the only significant independent music festival in the United States, and it is proud to support local businesses that are integral to the San Francisco and Bay Area communities.
The first year of the festival featured both local food vendors and experienced festival veterans from outside of San Francisco, but by the third year, the festival made a conscious decision to feature only local restaurants, a decision that remained unchanged.
This year’s festival will feature over 90 performances, including headliners Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters, Lana Del Rey, and Odesza.
During the three-day music festival, the Taste of the Bay Area is showcasing the top 96 restaurants and over 700 distinct menu items.
The addition of 17 new restaurants to the Taste of the Bay Area lineup, along with the return of 79 others, is a clear indication of how unique an opportunity it is to be a part of such an all-star lineup of tastemakers.
Another interesting fact? Nearly ninety percent of the menu is created by minority and/or female-led restaurateurs and chefs, making the menu exceptionally diverse, well-rounded, and anything but monotonous.
“The Bay Area restaurant scene is teeming with incredibly talented chefs of all backgrounds and gender identities,” explains Outside Lands Food Curator Tonya Kollar. “In our quest to fill the Outside Lands food lineup with a variety of cuisines, it was almost inevitable,” she adds. “Of course, we are so proud to have such a diverse group of restaurateurs and chefs on board, but their food speaks for itself.”
Kollar is the person responsible for curating the restaurant participants and the food they serve and is the mastermind behind this massive culinary lineup.
She explains that the best part of her job is developing close relationships with local restaurateurs and chefs. Kollar is their go-to for everything from generating new menu concepts to discussing equipment orders.
It just feels so good to work with them all year and then watch them dominate,” says Kollar. This feeling, along with all the delicious food I get to consume along the way, is what keeps me coming back to do this every year.
So how exactly does the lineup alchemy work? She states that the first stage in organizing everything is to determine who wishes to participate in the festival again. Kollar recognizes how essential and advantageous a spot at Outside Lands can be for restaurant partners of all sizes. As such, he is committed to continuing to support restaurants that have participated in past lineups.
Chef Mike Woods of The Bussdown is ecstatic to be a part of this festival’s lineup for the second consecutive year. “The Outside Lands team does an excellent job of making us feel like family; special kudos to Tanya Kollar and Jessie Baren. Last year was not only a blast but also an incredible opportunity to introduce tens of thousands of people to our Pan-African soul cuisine. This August, The Bussdown will reopen in Oakland’s iconic Tribune Tower, and we can’t think of a greater way to celebrate than with this epic food festival.”
The Bussdown will offer its signature Jerk Chicken Bowls, Caribbean Salmon Bowls, and Citrus-Braised Pork Bowls this year.
After inviting returning collaborators (some of whom have been with the festival for all 15 years), she determines who should complete the lineup.
“I like to consider what cuisines we may be missing, what culinary trends we haven’t yet tapped into, and perhaps most importantly, what are all the food-obsessed Bay Area residents raving about. This is how I’m able to discover pop-ups and smaller restaurants that would be a great fit for Outside Lands and for whom this could be an important stepping stone in growing their business,” states Kollar.
This year, she is especially thrilled to be collaborating with a number of new Latin restaurants, including the Columbian Parche, which will serve Pork Belly-Loaded Yuca Fries and Colombian Empanadas, and My Friend Fernando, an Oakland-based Chicano pop-up supper club that will serve elevated Tortas.
In addition, three entrepreneurs from La Cocina, a non-profit kitchen incubator helping to resolve equity issues in business ownership, particularly for women of color, will be showcasing an epic taco plate showcasing three distinct cultural interpretations of the taco.
Kollar exclaims, “I’m excited for attendees to explore the uniqueness of each of their distinct styles and to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the vast array of Latin cuisine available in the Bay Area.”
Corn dogs are native to Korea.
Outside Lands is known for keeping up with the ever-changing food trends of the Bay Area, and this year will feature some exciting new up-and-comers, including STIX, which will serve Korean corn dogs alongside guava lemonade with lychee jelly, and Piglet & Co., which will serve modern Taiwanese comfort foods such as chashao roast pork and rice and their famous Taiwanese hot dogs, inspired by Taiwanese night markets.
Taiwanese cuisine has recently experienced a surge in popularity in the Bay Area, so it only makes sense to add them to the roaster. Lastly, Sandy’s is back this year with their legendary muffulettas, which Kollar believes “single-handedly created a new Bay Area food trend.”
Another highly anticipated newcomer is Shuggie’s Trash Pie + Natural Wine, which is known for featuring upcycled produce, byproducts, and offcuts in its cuisine. For vegans, FroGo is making its debut with Chocolate-Strawberry Swirl Dairy-Free Soft Serve.
Michelin-starred Sorrel will be returning as well as previewing its upcoming sister restaurant, Moon, which will serve Coastal California-Asian cuisine cooked over an open flame.
Michelin-rated Chef Matt Horn’s Horn Barbecue out of Oakland will be debuting at the festival, offering its famed smoked meats, including Brisket Chopped Cheeses, Burnt Ends Sandwiches and Messy Fries.
Top Chef Nelson German’s alaMar Kitchen & Bar will be serving Braised Oxtail Nachos, Jerk Chicken Nachos, and Vegan Nachos.
Daytrip, named by Bon Appetit as one of the “Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2022” for its Spicy Pork Belly and Eggplant Pesto Parmesan Sandwiches, is another intriguing restaurant in the building.
Bodega SF, the Eater SF Restaurant of the Year from the previous year, will return to serve contemporary takes on Northern Vietnamese classics.
This year, we will be serving Vietnamese Braised Short Ribs and Spicy Dumplings. The short ribs will be made “Bo Kho” style, a hearty Vietnamese beef stew served with rice.
Filipino cuisine has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Chef Janice Dulce’s FOB Kitchen returns with Filipino classics such as Crispy Pork Lumpia and Stir-Fried Veggie Glass Noodles, while Francis Ang’s contemporary Filipino restaurant, Abacá, returns with his modern interpretations of Filipino cuisine, such as Carioca Mochi Donuts crafted by Abacá’s James Beard 2023-nominated Pastry Chef Vince Bugtong.
“We’re very excited to be one of the food vendors at this year’s Outside Lands,” says Dian Ang, Director of Operations and Co-Owner of Abacá. “Not only does this give us the chance to showcase Filipino cuisine to a larger audience, but it also allows us to try out other restaurants and food vendors.
This is an excellent opportunity for the culinary community to come together and discover what everyone is up to. This year, we will serve some of our most popular dishes, such as Sisig Fried Rice, Pork Lumpia, Carioca Rice Donuts, Pork and Shrimp Dumplings, and Calamansi Iced Tea.
Chef Smelly will serve his signature Dungeness Crab Garlic Noodles; Wahpepah’s Kitchen will serve her Bison Burgers with Native Berry BBQ, Smoked Sweet Potatoes, and Three Sisters Veggie Bowls; and El Garage will sell its addictive, juicy Quesabirrias.
A16 will be serving authentic wood-fired pizzas; Woodhouse Fish Co. will offer freshly shucked oysters and lobster rolls; Sweet July’s got you covered in the caffeine department with Ayesha Curry’s cold brew and affogatos; and the hottest newcomer, Kaiy Br, will be serving up a variety of savory and sweet treats.
Guests of the ultra-luxurious festival experience at the Golden Gate Club will dine on the cuisine of four renowned chefs: Nancy Oakes and Dana Younkin of Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning Boulevard will offer seasonal California bites; Ravi Kapur, Food & Wine’s Best New Chef, and James Beard nominee, will prepare traditional Hawaiian dishes from Liholiho Yacht Club; and Tyler Florence, a two-time James Beard nominee, will prepare a menu from his restaurant, Tyler Florence.
Outside Lands offers three distinct beverage experiences: Cocktail Magic, Wine Lands, and Beer Lands. Festivalgoers can expect the best of the Bay Area’s cocktail culture and the finest of California’s winemaking and brewing, as well as nonalcoholic and low-alcoholic beverages.
Trick Dog, one of the only San Francisco bars to make the World’s 50 Best Bars List, and The Kon-Tiki, one of the best tiki destinations in the Bay Area, will be serving food and cocktails from the same booth for the first time this year at Cocktails Lands.
The Kon-Tiki will serve elevated mid-century Tiki cuisine, including Pork Tocino Bites and Hawaiian-inspired burgers with pineapple-mango jam.
Outside Lands bars within Cocktail Magic include Less Is More, which offers low ABV cocktails; Shaken Not Stirred, which serves both classic and inventive martinis; and Spin the Wheel, which invites guests to literally spin a wheel to determine their cocktail of the moment.
For a 70s vibe, guests can check out the Buttery Tipple for some bold libations; SilverGirls95 returns with a vaporwave twist on silver spirits; and lastly, Everybody’s Tavern will be celebrating diversity with drinks like True Colors made with Tequila, Butterfly Syrup, Lime, and Lavender.
Since Taste of the Bay Area’s inception in 2008, the number of participating restaurants has nearly quadrupled, according to Kerry Black, co-founder of Superfly and curator of Cocktail Magic.
Our beverage offerings have also expanded significantly.” This year’s Cocktail Magic will be twice as large, with new themed bars, cocktail and food pairings, and distinctive stage programming, all at a new location in Lindley Meadow.
“Wine Lands was a part of our first festival, but the number of wineries has increased from 20 in 2008 to 35 in 2023. The introduction of Beer Lands in 2012 was a pivotal moment for the festival, allowing us to expand our focus on Northern California’s exceptional cuisine through the lens of craft beer.
Wine Lands will once again feature supremely elevated wine experiences showcasing the best of California winemaking. The event will feature 25 wineries, a bar dedicated to sparkling wines, and an additional 10 wineries within VIP at Wine Lands Reserve, pouring a total of over 100 wines on-site.
This year will feature more wineries than ever before, and more natural wineries in particular, due to the delayed planting schedule for 2023. Natural wine producers will include the female-owned, first-generation winemaker Martha Stoumen, new releases from the 15-year Wine Lands veteran Broc Cellars, and more.
“From a wine perspective, my intention for Wine Lands is to continue to be the leading wine experience for any music festival and to use the same recipe from 2008,” says Peter Eastlake, Curator of Wine Lands. “It’s all about the wine, winemakers, and audience!
Since its inception in 2008, the popularity of rose, sparkling wines, sauvignon blanc, and sake has increased, according to Eastlake. Wine Lands has also influenced other wine-music nexus events, including BottleRock, Gundlach-Bundschu’s Huichica Festival, and BloodRoot’s Ramble, to name a few, he adds.
Wine Lands will feature wines from the Russian River Valley to Paso Robles, including a special collaboration between Foo Fighters, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Outside Lands 2023 headliners, and Tatenokawa.
“Wine Lands is more than just a wine list and concession area; it’s a complete wine experience where winemakers from each winery are present to introduce their wines and interact with the audience for all three days of Outside Lands,” Eastlake explains.
“In all candor, that level of engagement does not typically occur outside of the winery, so it’s truly remarkable to observe it firsthand.
Each year, I program local California wineries that I believe will flourish in a 1-on-1 setting because they produce excellent wines and are a great match for Outside Lands from a brand perspective and in terms of generating excitement among the west coast wine community and beyond.
Beer Lands will once again be pouring brews from the state’s finest breweries and cideries to serve everything from classic lagers to cutting-edge, hazy IPAs, a style of beer that has been gaining popularity in recent years.
McLean presents Beer Lands as a three-day beer bar menu with the intention of showcasing as many aspects of NorCal’s incredible regional beer scene as possible.
“From new breweries, local pioneers, different sizes, breweries with different focuses, a mix of classic styles and experimental beers (and beer-adjacent beverages like cider and kombucha)—ideally a little something for everyone,” he says. “Some breweries go as far as brewing special beers for the festival.
McLean wants to ensure that the lineup accentuates the sense of place that Outside Lands evokes. Therefore, one of the main criteria for Beer Lands is that breweries must be from Northern California.
BrewBilt Brewing Company, a new brewery from Grass Valley, California, will debut at Outside Lands before becoming available in the Bay Area; Moonlight Brewing Company, a 30-year veteran of the Bay Area beer scene; Far West Cider, pouring a new botanical cider made with ingredients from Golden Gate Park; and Korean-owned brewery Dokkaebier
The lineup is extensive, from Heineken’s debut of Heineken Silver to returning mainstays such as black-owned brewery Crowns & Hops.
“As a brewer and maltster, what I love most about the current lager beer renaissance is that more and more brewers are eager to send their well-crafted examples of helles, pilsners, Mexican lagers, and dark lagers to Beer Lands this year.