Off-the-Grid’s Matt Cohen Speaks at USF

Off-the-Grid Founder & CEO shares his thoughts on Asian inspiration and entrepreneurship

SAN FRANCISCO (April 22, 2014)

Matt Cohen, founder and CEO of Off-the-Grid, the mobile street food market that travels to different locations, will be speaking at the University of San Francisco (USF) on Tuesday, April 22 at 5 p.m. The talk will be held in USF’s Fromm Hall (Berman Room 115), located behind St. Ignatius Church along Parker Avenue (at McAllister). This event is free and open to the public.

The event will consist of a 45-minute talk by Matt Cohen, followed by 15-minutes for questions from the audience. Those with interests in entrepreneurship, business, the Pacific Rim, as well as food enthusiasts are encouraged to attend.

“We hope the audience will learn about how people in the Bay Area are bridging cultures through language and food,” said Melissa Dale, executive director and assistant professor for USF’s Center for the Pacific Rim. “This talk is right in line with the Center for the Pacific Rim’s mission to bridge the people and cultures of the Pacific.”

Matt Cohen comes to USF with an abundance of cultural knowledge and business acumen to share. He earned his bachelor’s degree in History and a Masters in Education from Emory University. Following his formal education, he travelled across the globe to Japan for three years as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). During his time there, Matt fell in love with Asia’s legendary night markets. Upon his return, he decided to use his Japanese inspiration to open up his own version of a late night ramen cart, Tobe. The food cart gained citywide recognition, beginning his career in the street food industry.

With his love for Asian night markets in mind, Matt founded Off-the-Grid in 2010. The company is recognized for its part in the revival and preservation of the street food community in San Francisco.

“I'm excited to talk with the USF community about how my time living and working in Japan has influenced both my business career, and the decisions that I've made as a business owner in San Francisco,” said Matt Cohen.

Members of the media interested in covering tonight’s event should RSVP with Anne-Marie Devine, USF’s senior director of media relations, at 415.422.2697 or

About Off the Grid

Off the Grid began in June of 2010 with the simple idea that grouping Street Food vendors together similar to an “Asian night market” would create an experience that would allow neighbors to connect with friends, and families to reconnect with each other. Since then Off the Grid has worked hard to develop markets that are both located in urban cores of cities, and that utilize spaces that are not easily activated effectively throughout the day. In 2010 Off the Grid opened 3 markets. In 2011 Off the Grid opened 9 more. Off the Grid is proud of its role organizing, promoting and managing all of its markets, and the small mobile food businesses that we work with. Currently, Off the Grid operates 23 weekly markets in the greater bay area, and works with more than 150 vendors weekly. Off the Grid believes in promoting win-win opportunities for the small local businesses that we work with, maintaining a fixed cost structure that is well below other standard events rates. At its core, Off the Grid believes in the power of a shared food experience to connect communities, and we work hard to maintain a shared sense of space wherever we serve.

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world's most innovative and stunning cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco's first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student's passion for social justice and a desire to “Change the World from Here.” For more information, please visit