Pal’s Takeaway celebrates anniversary with sandwiches by guest chefs

Lao sausage sandwich, a classic Pal’s Takeaway offering. Photo: Kate Williams

We’re a bit late on this announcement, but we think it’s still worth sharing. Jeff Mason is celebrating nine years of making sandwiches as popular pop-up, Pal’s Takeaway with some “celebrity sandwiches.”

Mason, who first began selling his specialty sandwiches in 2009 out of a liquor store on 24th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District, moved his business to Oakland in the fall of 2015. For six months, Pal’s found a home at Firebrand Artisan Breads at Oakland’s Hive complex, but parted ways with the bakery. Then, as we reported in January, Mason – a Berkeley resident – found a new semi-permanent home for Pal’s Takeaway at Uptown Oakland’s shared kitchen space, Forage Kitchen on 25th Street.

For his nine-year anniversary celebration, which he’s calling the “Pal’s Ninth Anniversary ‘One Sandwich After Another’ Guest Chef Extravaganza,” Mason has once again invited chef friends to make and sell their own sandwiches at Pal’s Takeaway.

Mason, who has done the guest-chef concept every year for the past six years told us that he likes doing these events with his “buddies” because it “gives them a chance to do what they’re not normally doing.” The lunch-time sandwich fête started on Monday April 17, when James Syhabout (Commis, Old Kan Beer) served a Lao-style Oregon shrimp salad sandwich. On Wednesday, Russell Moore (Camino, The Kebabery) hawked wood-oven roasted trout sandwiches, topped with preserved lime, daikon radish and the fish’s crispy skin.


We’re sorry to report those particular sandwiches have been made, sold and eaten, but luckily, there are more guest-celeb creations throughout the month and into May. Here’s the rest of the line-up: Friday April 21, Jerry “JJ” Jaksich and Rayneil De Guzman (Ramen Shop) will serve a pork tonkatsu sandwich; on Tuesday April 25, Josey Baker will create a sandwich on his famous namesake bread (possibly with duck breast bacon, but Mason said on the phone on Thursday evening that the ingredient will likely change to keep the sandwich affordable); Wednesday April 26, Brandon Jew (Mr. Jiu’s) and on Friday April 28, Kenji López-Alt (Serious Eats) will serve a crowd favorite, Korean Fried Chicken sandwiches. Last February, Mason held a popular night-time event where López-Alt sold his KFC sandwiches, so he expects the April 28 offering will be well-received. In fact, Mason said that so far, all the guest chef creations, which are $12 each, have sold out.

The participating guest sandwich makers in May all happen to be women, which Mason said is a coincidence. The chefs are Suzanne Drexhage (Bartavelle), Kelsie Kerr (Standard Fare) and Liza Shaw (of now shuttered Merigan Sub Shop), who will be making a “Harissa pork thing,” according to Mason.

When asked what he has planned for next year’s big 10th birthday bash, Mason said, “I don’t know, because I can’t think that far ahead. I’m probably going to have my tenth anniversary in Barbados.” And although Mason said, “I’m hopeful that one of these days, before I get a walker, I’ll get my own spot,” so far he’s happy at his space in Forage Kitchen, where he plans to stay making one sandwich after another.

Pal’s Takeaway is open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.