Pot & Pantry is a kitchen shop located in the Mission district of San Francisco, opened by bay area native, Donna Suh Wageman in the fall of 2010. On a recent trip up north, I sat down with Donna and talked about her vision, being a shop owner, and the San Francisco food movement.
Photos & Interview
What was your inspiration for opening up Pot & Pantry?I imagined a kind of store that I wanted to shop in; for it to feel like someone’s kitchen. I wanted it to be very approachable and relatable and not like most kitchen stores I’ve seen. It was important to have new and vintage items mixed together to reflect the way most people live. I want visitors to feel like they’re shopping someone’s kitchen.
What is your background in relation to food?My passion for food developed after college one day when I had a really incredible plate of tomato and mozzarella and realized the power that really simple food has (when locally harvested) to blow your mind. I knew I wanted to have one foot in the food world, but to keep the focus on shopping. I like to eat and enjoy it, but don’t necessarily need to be the one doing it. Though I do love the intimacy of home cooking and really subscribe to the slow food movement. That’s something I really like to encourage.
There seems to be a very consistent aesthetic in the product you carry. How do you decide what product you will stock?I go for timelessness. I’m a cheap shopper and enjoy finding value in really well made products. Things don’t always need to be expensive, which is why I incorporated the second-hand aspect into my shop. Everything I carry is something I love and is very personal to me. Though the best part about being a shop owner is forming relationships with people and sharing with them the story behind each piece so they leave excited about what they’re taking home.
Tell me a bit about the workshops you host.I work with Kate Koeppel to host these workshops. I always wanted a shop that doubled as an event space to have a way of reaching out to the community. The food community in San Francisco is so rich, it’s been such a blast just meeting people that are doing unique things and trying to change the way that people approach food and home cooking. We’ve started collaborating with different businesses to host courses each week that range from tea brewing to bacon curing to knife sharpening — a little bit of everything to enhance your skills in the kitchen.
What are some of your favorite places to gather in San Francisco?My home. I’ve started entertaining a lot, and everyone loves to gather in the kitchen. I love baking and having friends over to enjoy what I cook.
Pot & Pantry
593 Guerrero Street at 18th
San Francisco, CA