Night markets are all the rage in San Francisco these days. It turns out the Fillmore District already has one of its very own.

The Fillmore has quietly hosted a weekly Friday night market since August, featuring catered soul food, small business vendors and local artists. Held between Fillmore and Steiner streets along O’Farrell Street, the night market is fully operated by community members in San Francisco’s historically Black neighborhood. It runs between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. every week.

“It’s so hard for small businesses and restaurants right now—we wanted to create an area and platform where we can pop up consistently,” said Joy Williams, the market’s organizer and owner of On the Ground Catering. “We get about a couple hundred or so visitors every night, and we sell out really quick.”

Williams piloted the Fillmore’s first night market on Aug. 11, though she and event organizers stress that the event is still in its “beginning stages.” Previously, vendors had catered local block parties and holiday events, including the neighborhood’s annual Juneteenth celebration.

Sandy Clark prepares a platter of food during the Juneteenth Freedom Celebration on Saturday in the Fillmore District. Clark cooks for Sir Hands Street Foodz. | Source: Evan Reinhardt for The Standard

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A flyer for the night market currently promises “smoked BBQ, hibachi soul food, frozen desserts,” and other retail and entertainment vendors.

“The demand is there; we just need more marketing,” Williams said. “Events in the Fillmore District don’t get a lot of the same acknowledgment that other districts get—and the Fillmore is historically known for its jazz presence and African American culture.”

Organizers also hope to bring live music to future night markets, pending a permit from the city. The night market flyer says it will feature performances from local artists and the West Coast Caravan of All Stars, a blues band that has previously performed with musical legends Etta James, Willie Nelson and Chaka Khan.

The news comes just as another night market was hailed as a success when it debuted recently. The Sunset Night Market drew thousands of San Franciscans to the neighborhood last Friday, shutting down three blocks for 80 vendors.

READ MORE: Does the Success of San Francisco’s Sunset Night Market Mean More of Them?

Williams says the Fillmore Night Market is entirely community-run, funded primarily by the event organizers and local business owners in the Fillmore. Supervisor Dean Preston’s office says it has been “very engaged with the organizers” in supporting the market.

“My office is proud to support the Fillmore Friday Night Market, a fantastic weekly event organized by community leaders that’s activating the neighborhood with amazing food and retail vendors, supporting Black owned businesses, and providing a welcoming space for the community to gather,” Preston said in a statement. “The Friday market is bringing people of all ages out to celebrate the rich history of the Fillmore and continue the important work of revitalizing the neighborhood through community-led efforts.”

Fillmore Night Market Food Vendors:

  • On the Ground Catering—BBQ pop-up and catering
  • Papa Rudy’s—Bayview-based BBQ pop-up
  • Sir Hands Street Food—hibachi soul food
  • The Geez Freeze—ice cream and frozen treats