Every single day, Souvla employees field requests from East Bay residents on the phone, by email, or on social media: “Please, open a Souvla in Oakland!” “Bring Souvla to Berkeley!”
That’s according to Charles Bililies, founder and CEO of the popular, fine-casual Greek restaurants in San Francisco. Bililies isn’t working on launching an East Bay branch — sorry, everyone — but Souvla is popping up on our side of the bridge for the first time this week. Unlike the Monday night dive bar pop-ups we’ve grown accustomed to, Souvla’s pop-up will be delivery-only and fueled by tech.
Here’s the deal: From 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, August 24 through Sunday, August 27, you can order Souvla through the delivery app Caviar. Prices will all be the same as in the San Francisco restaurants, plus Caviar’s standard delivery fees. Souvla cooks will operate out of a commercial kitchen near downtown Oakland, which comes equipped to handle all of Souvla’s menu — think meats slowly roasted on a spit, tucked into fluffy pita — except its Greek frozen yogurt. For permitting reasons, Souvla also won’t be able to deliver wine for this pop-up.
Souvla shouldn’t run out of food too fast, unlike some frenzied pop-ups. Bililies is prepping for a standard night of service, meaning up to 150 orders, with an average of three to four items each. The delivery radius encompasses San Leandro to the south and El Cerrito to the north.
Is this the future of pop-ups, ordered through your smartphone and eaten in front of Netflix? Delivery is definitely growing at a rapid rate. Bililies told the San Francisco Chronicle that Souvla didn’t do any delivery in 2014, and now, delivery makes up 24 percent of its business.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for other restaurants to expose their brands to other parts of the Bay Area or other cities in a way that’s fun,” Bililies said.
In other words, yes, expect delivery pop-ups to become a thing.