Food

Bad Bunny ate at the Puerto Rican restaurant Sol Food while in the Bay Area?

Bad Bunny ate at the Puerto Rican restaurant Sol Food while in the Bay Area?
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Monday nights at the Puerto Rican Sol Food restaurant in San Rafael have been a bit slow lately, so when manager Francisco Gomez got a call in the afternoon asking if the company could accommodate a large group later in the evening, he said sure.

“On the phone they just said, ‘We have 80 Puerto Ricans,'” Gomez told The Chronicle.

Around 6 p.m., a convoy of large black SUVs arrived outside the establishment. At first, Gomez thought it could be a field trip or a sports team, but when he saw security around some of the cars, he knew something was up.

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Finally, when a customer entered the restaurant, draped from head to toe in Louis Vuitton, including a scarf over his face and sunglasses, it clicked.

“Then we realized, ‘Oh my God, it’s Bad Bunny!'” Gomez said.

Bad Bunny (right) posed for photos with Deybith Hernandez (front) and David Chavarria (back) at Sol Food in San Rafael while in the Bay Area.

Deybith Hernandez

The 28-year-old rapper born Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio is somewhat akin to Puerto Rican royalty. Gomez, in his eight years working at Sol Food’s now three locations, has met several famous diners, including G-Eazy and Carlos Santana. But Bad Bunny’s status is currently unmatched. Gomez and the rest of the staff were amazed.

The multiplatinum performer is in the Bay Area as part of his first-ever stadium tour — which includes stops at NY’s Yankee Stadium and Boston’s Fenway Park — and performs Wednesday at Oakland’s RingCentral Coliseum. His huge entourage in San Rafael included his backup dancers and other tour personnel.

To cook huge servings of the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as pork chops, tostones, and shrimp mofongo, Gomez joined the staff in the kitchen and jumped in at the expo, reading orders and coordinating between chefs and servers. Bad Bunny was in the kitchen too: In a video he shared on Instagram, he walks through the kitchen and poses for photos with the entire staff, including dishwashers.

“He was like a tourist in our restaurant,” recalls Gomez.

Opened in 2006, Sol Food is arguably the Bay Area’s best-known Puerto Rican restaurant. As owners Marisol “Sol” Hernandez and Victor Cielo told The Chronicle in 2016, their company has steadily gained fame among Puerto Rican and non-Puerto Rican customers, now with three locations: the most recent, in Petaluma, opened this spring.

But, as Gomez put it, “To know that a famous artist who isn’t really from the Bay Area knew about us and wanted to bring his friends and dancers and everyone he loves here — that’s great.”

Tonight he sees Bad Bunny again: Gomez bought tickets for the concert in Oakland in August.

Caleb Pershan is the assistant food & wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: caleb.pershan@sfchronicle.com

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