In 2014, the Tenderloin Economic Development Project launched Tasting the Tenderloin, an event that introduces Mid-Market tech companies to small businesses in the neighborhood. This program allows, Mid-Market tech employees to enjoy delicious authentic local complimentary food from restaurants in the Tenderloin. Employees taste rare fare like the five-star Banh Mi at Mong Thu Cafe, the revered Pork Adobo at Kusina Ni Tess, the local and organic tomato based sauces at Tikka Masala, the classic New York Reuben at Morty’s Deli, the perfectly seasoned meats at El Castillito Taqueria, the well crafted Asian fusion dishes at Four Seasons, and the traditional Thai dishes and full bar at Lalita Thai. The lunches are free to Mid-Market tech employees and are sponsored by companies like One Kings Lane, PeerSpace, Spotify, Square, and Zendesk.

Small businesses are a part of the fabric that characterizes the Tenderloin. These restaurants contribute to the Tenderloin’s unique flavor. As Mid-Market transforms, small businesses must simply not be stabilized but should be, more importantly, positioned to create wealth. While the lunches are free to tech employees, TEDP believes that once introduced to these delicious and affordable dishes they will come back, tell their friends/colleagues, and contribute to the restaurants’ online presence (i.e. Yelp, Urbanspoon, Foursquare). TEDP is hoping to develop the Tenderloin’s export economy, where goods and services sold in the Tenderloin are “delivered” to people outside of the community.