San Francisco’s Dogpatch Tour Blends Local Craft Culture with Historical Flavor

Walk SF Dogpatch Tour - Foodies Dream

With its quaint neighborhoods and famous landmarks, San Francisco is known as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. and attracts tourists from all over the world. The Handcrafted in Dogpatch tour gives locals and travelers a taste of San Francisco’s craft culture ‒ with a historical spin.

We sat down with Ryan Russo, founder and managing director of Walk SF Tours, to talk about his tour. Russo said that he and his guides share similar passions: a love of local food and drink coupled with an interest in San Francisco history.

Q: Can you give us a brief background about Walk SF Tours and your vision behind the company?

RR: Shortly after I moved to San Francisco seven years ago, I spent the first few months walking around the city, reading historical plaques, visiting the endless amount of unique bars in the city, and generally becoming more interested in the history of San Francisco. It made me want to read books about San Francisco’s history, which ultimately led me to leave my old job in Silicon Valley to start Walk SF Tours. I wanted to create a tour company that focuses on the multi-layered history of San Francisco while at the same time using food, drink, and other immersive experiences to fire up people’s imagination.

Q: San Francisco has a booming artisan movement and is known for its amazing restaurants and “foodie” scene. What inspired you to create a tour that centers on the local food and drink scene?

RR: I’m a huge foodie and love craft beer, wine and cocktails. Our flagship tour, Gold & Guns in Downtown SF, tells the story of San Francisco’s Wild West days while enjoying craft cocktail tastings in period bars and saloons. I like to say that any disposable income I have goes back into “supporting the neighborhood” and trying out new bars and restaurants. I also enjoy cooking and trying my hand at different types of cuisine. The idea for the Handcrafted in Dogpatch tour came when I headed out there a few years ago to buy French-style cuts of meat from Olivier’s Butchery.

The storyteller and historian in me immediately wanted to know more about the history of the shipyards at Pier 70 so I got a few books about it and started exploring the neighborhood. I quickly realized that the neighborhood is undergoing a huge renaissance for artisanal products. No one was really telling the story from its industrial roots to today with regard to craft culture. I saw a way to help locals and travelers alike discover a fantastic neighborhood.

Q: What can guests expect from your Handcrafted in Dogpatch tour, and what makes it unique/different compared to other tours in San Francisco?

RR: Guests can expect to hear the story of both the neighborhood and artisans as told through food and drink. We like to say that Dogpatch is the “Brooklyn” of San Francisco and it’s also home to the SFMade movement. There are over 300 businesses alone in one building that focus on handmade products. 

We offer a moving tasting tour. At each place we visit, we speak with the owners and managers who share their own personal story about the company, and what got them to follow their passion and get in on the craft scene. Guests visit urban craft breweries, wineries, chocolate factories, and handmade bag factories while munching on handcrafted cuisine and tasting beverages along the way. We sample everything from scratch made ice cream to artisanal cheeses to San Francisco-inspired pizza with sourdough crust.

San Francisco is comprised of a community of unique villages, and each one tends to be proud of both their neighborhood and San Francisco. This sense of community in Dogpatch struck a chord with me. It’s an under-the-radar neighborhood (which borders Potrero Hill) in a lesser known waterfront area. Our tour is the only one in San Francisco to focus on the Dogpatch and its artisans. We let the artisans of Dogpatch speak for themselves, and let their passion for what they do shine through.

Q: What feedback have you received from guests who take your tour?

RR: Our feedback has been great. Most of our guests have been locals, as we launched the tour during the low tourism season, and they have been pleasantly surprised by how the neighborhood embodies craft culture and still flies under the radar for most locals. I foresee anyone who appreciates foodie culture and craft beer and wine to be interested as the tourism season picks up this year.

Walk SF Tours offer group, private and corporate tours. Tours are also available in French. The Handcrafted in Dogpatch tour costs $79 per person and lasts approximately 3 hours. Guests must be at least 21 years old. For more information, check out or call 415-779-5879.

Therese Pope is a freelance copywriter located in Northern California who writes for the restaurant/food and hospitality industry. She is a die-hard foodie and wine lover with a passion for cooking. Check out her Facebook page, The Gold Country Foodista

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