At the corner of Market and Guerrero Streets in San Francisco, nestled between a tailor and a neighborhood bar, sits a quaint outpost of Denmark. Kantine, a casual Scandinavian-inspired restaurant owned by Chef Nichole Accettola and Joachim Majholm (pictured below), continues to offer customers a daily slice of European fare despite the setbacks the COVID-19 pandemic has brought.
Since the restaurant opened in 2018, simple, delicious, wholesome Scandinavian food has been what Kantine is all about. Anything that can be made from scratch is made by scratch, often with local, sustainable and organic ingredients. In addition, Accettola and Majholm are committed to operating an environmentally sustainable business, and have adopted business friendly practices to save water, conserve energy, and protect employee and customer health. Recently they upgraded to CleanPowerSF’s SuperGreen service (100% renewable electricity) and are only the tenth restaurant in San Francisco to become a Certified Green Business.
“Being green is a way of life,” said Accettola. “The restaurant industry is generally very wasteful so [at Kantine] we strive to lessen our impact in every way that we can.” Majholm added: “We strongly believe that we all need to take responsibility for leaving the planet in a better shape than we found it, and CleanPowerSF’s SuperGreen program is such an easy step towards that goal.”
Besides their commitment to good food and sustainability, Kantine focuses on people. Accettola spent more than a decade in Copenhagen, Denmark and noted that many workplaces have a canteen—a place where hungry employees gather to share a hearty lunch and enjoy each other’s company. Chef Nichole Accettola wanted to bring that concept to San Francisco, a city with a bustling lunch food scene.
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 upended that vision. The pandemic has shut down in-person dining in San Francisco several times, leaving restaurants like Kantine with the only option of offering takeout or delivery if they choose to stay open. “This has been the most challenging year for us as well as for many others,” said Majholm. “How do we keep our employees and customers safe? Is it responsible to stay open?”
And yet, in addition to continuing to safely operate five days a week, Kantine also had the privilege to support others during this challenging time. In the early months of the pandemic, the restaurant cooked thousands of meals for frontline workers, homeless shelters and vulnerable communities through World Central Kitchen, founded by world-renown chef José Andres. According to Accettola and Majholm, it was an honor—and a lifesaver. “It allowed us to keep every single employee on the payroll during the worst months, and it gave us a great sense of purpose,” said Majholm.
After doing so much for the community, how can San Francisco support Kantine and other restaurants in the area? Majholm offers this piece of advice: “Order directly from the restaurant and go pick-up yourself when you are able so that your money, in particular tips, goes directly to the restaurant and its employees.”
Learn more about Kantine at: kantinesf.com.