Though it's just a block off Irving, Hugo Avenue seems like the sleepiest side street in the Inner Sunset. The previous cafe at Hugo and Third languished, perennially empty, but Lieng Souryavong and Louis Kao, co-owners of the 3-month-old Wooly Pig Cafe (Kao also owns Noodle Theory), have found a better way to attract UCSF staffers and the bikers who follow the sharrows from the Panhandle to Irving.
There are the regular sandwiches, made with Zoe's Meats, but the ones showing up on Twitter are Souryavong and Kao's creative, carefully made, and cheap specials. SFoodie hasn't eaten all of them ― there's an egg salad topped with anchovies we're curious about, as well as a veggie sandwich with roasted beets and goat cheese and a banh mi stuffed with peppery pork; all are in the $6-$8 range.
Our favorite so far was the brightly seasoned tuna salad with lime, wasabi, and shaved
fennel, not to mention mayonnaise, which Souryavong squirted onto the roll with an abandon worthy of the abstract expressionists.
Probably the cafe's most talked-about sandwich is the Wooly Pig ($6), a glossy bun stuffed with shredded, caramel-braised pork belly; we found it a little heavier than our midday appetite called for, but Souryavong (who was making sandwiches both times we stopped by) did a nice job of counterbalancing the richness with the bite of baby arugula and pickled shallots. People who lunch on smoked brisket will probably find it dainty.
The other remarkable thing about Wooly Pig: Souryavong, who used to manage the House, asks your name when you order, and remembers it when you return. That welcome alone should double the foot traffic on Hugo within the next month.
Wooly Pig Cafe: 205 Hugo (at Third Ave.), 592-8015. Open Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 8 a.m.-3p.m.