18 Reasons is an innovative, Mission District community center and non-profit led by Sam Mogannam and Anne Walker, owners of the beloved, neighboring Bi-Rite Market. Mogannam and Walker created 18 Reasons to further connect their customers with local producers of food and wine. With their new, larger space, designed pro-bono by CCS Architecture and Ohio Design, they aim to foster collaboration toward creating a just and sustainable food system through thought-provoking, fun programming.
Architect Cass Smith and furniture maker David Pierce joined forces to efficiently design and craft the 550-square-foot, front-of-house room. The starting point was a 1940s, street-level space on 18th Street, catty-corner from Bi-Rite and previously used as a knife-sharpening shop. Mogannam’s commitment to sustainability inspired Smith to re-use the redwood framing lumber at the site. This also set the design tone; 18 Reasons is a minimalist space that is casual and crafted.
Sturdy, reclaimed redwood was milled to make shelving, slatted ceiling panels and a feature wall for books and objects. Polished concrete floors and a Carrara-marble-topped counter and bar lend a simple, inviting feel. Pierce made all the built-in elements, including the counter and bar, the steel frame entry door and windows, and the wood ceiling and shelves. Charred wood was used for the façade and the entry vestibule.
Mogannam requested a completely flexible space with gallery-style walls for curated art; engaging exhibits relate to the culture and art of cuisine. There is also a “bathroom residency,” with a new installation each month. The community center now has a 600-square-foot industrial kitchen that supports daily events and programs. Every Thursday night, the space opens to the public as the 18th Hour Café, with a changing weekly menu of beer, wine, cheese, charcuterie and vegan bites.