Chef Nichole Accettola has built a feverish following for her wholesale rye bread and open-faced smørrebrød sandwiches at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and pop-up events, and as of today, all that and more can be found at Kantine’s permanent home. Accettola and her husband Joachim Majholm have just opened their long-awaited cafe, bakery, and eatery in a light-filled space at 1906 Market Street.
Copenhagen’s ATM Design remodeled the former Little Hollywood Launderette space, located in a classic art deco building on a flatiron street corner, adding clean details and artwork from Accettola’s friend and Danish artist Sarah Louise Schackinger. “We didn’t want something super swanky — but we still wanted to make it different and comfortable,’ says Accettola.
Her food, inspired by more than a decade of living and cooking in Copenhagen, has similar goals of accessibility and comfort. With Scandinavian food, “You get full in a different way... it’s dense, but without being rich — a lot of people mistake [Scandinavian food] for light and fluffy food, but it’s a wholesome food, and it tantalizes all your senses.”
Accettola’s menu, below, revolves around local ingredients and Scandinavian techniques of smoking, brining, and pickling. It’s more limited to start, with additional dishes to join soon. Kantine’s sous chef is Evan Bertolli, formerly of Bar Tartine and Motze. Stéphanie Gagnon, a recent transplant from Toronto, is Kantine’s pastry chef (and the force behind the bakery’s chocolate rye buns and more). The cafe also serves coffee from Portland’s Heart Roasters, homemade specialty drinks including a refreshing concoction made from rhubarb and a drinkable elderberry yogurt, and a selection wine and beer on tap and by the bottle and can.
The Upper Market/Castro location for Kantine is a fitting one: The area was once known as Little Scandinavia, as remaining landmarks like the Swedish American Hall still attest. Accettola hopes to revitalizes that spirit, and for her, the new home base is a long time coming. It’s something that means “no more pop-ups, no more schlepping things here and there, working out of commercial kitchens. I can come in, unlock the door, [and say] “this is my space.”
There’s even more to it than meets the customer’s eye: Behind the cafe and seating area — and twice as large — is Kantine’s new kitchen and production area, from which Accettola plans to expand her wholesale production, adding more rye bread varieties like a vegan version with shredded carrots in lieu of buttermilk.
Starting today, Kantine is open at 1906 Market Street from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.