In November of 2008, caught in the throes of a failing economy and non-profit career woes, Brian Kimball yearned for a new endeavor. Stirred by newly-elected Obama’s talk of change, along with an earnest desire for some extra drinking money, he began to devise a plan. He recalled the conversations he’d had with fellow residents of San Francisco’s Mission District, regarding a serious void in the neighborhood: a lack of late-night food to accommodate its late-night life. No stranger to the culinary arts, he wondered if – just maybe – he could fill that void.
Having travelled to Bangkok and watched as street food vendors fed its bustling population, Kimball imagined serving up the same experience on the streets of San Francisco. After repurposing a pushcart built for the Black Rock City “Playa”, the purchase of a few ingredients, and the ignition of a small butane stove, the Magic Curry Kart opened up shop in early March of 2009.
Business soon grew from a handful of friends, to lines of eager patrons at Dolores Park. The Kart travelled all over the Mission District, and was heavily sought out wherever it went. The Magic Curry Man along with his brother Curtis, founder of the Creme Brulee Cart, became something of a household name to San Franciscans, and inspired a flurry of other business owners to join in the food cart movement. Instead of transitioning to a food truck Kimball and some friends built the next Magic Curry Kart which was mounted on a 3-wheeled bicycle. Not only was the bicycle one of the only bike powered eateries in San Francisco; it also made the journey to the Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada for Burning Man 2009 and again in 2010.
Reeling from the intense popularity of his curry dishes, Kimball was soon drawn to market and distribute his signature homemade curry paste. Today, Magic Curry Paste can be found in Bi-Rite, as well as several Whole Foods locations in the Bay Area. The Magic Curry Kart operations are mainly focused on expanding the product line currently but continues to make appearances as a festival stand in the Bay Area. However if you are lucky you may still catch the Magic Curry Kart in its bike powered glory and special neighborhood events. Look for Magic Curry Paste and other products coming soon to a store near you.