A New, Very Green Bodega Just Opened in SF’s Lower Nob Hill

This San Francisco corner store is a verdant oasis of organization and modestly priced peanut butter.

We’re a sucker for a solid bodega. There’s something mesmeric about following the isles of one after being overserved at a nearby bar; you let whimsy and impaired judgment lead your post-drinking snacking — a satiating journey riddled with situational serendipity, for better or worse. They’re also places to spot resident felines, minding their own business, swatting at your feet as you walk by. (I’m looking at you, Mish Mish at Mid City.) When you couldn’t be bothered to walk the half-mile to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, the family-run corner store less than 200 feet away from your apartment is there, allowing you to surrender to listlessness.

Photo: Courtesy of author

So, yea: We love a well-kept, somewhat reasonably priced corner store in San Francisco. And, to our unexpected delight, a new one just opened up in Lower Nob Hill on Sutter Street.

Aptly named Sutter Market — not to be confused with Sutter Fine Foods, which is another family-owned corner store at Sutter and Hyde streets — the neighborhood grocer opened earlier this month. Outside, passersby (myself included) are struck by the Nickelodeon Slime green exterior; compared to the drab concrete structs to their left and right, it’s a pleasing bit of structural eye candy.

Walking in, like-colored produce boxes are spaced on top of each other. Though currently sparse, a store employee told us that larger selections of vegetables and fruits are coming —  “we’re still working on securing vendors for produce.”

Photo: Courtesy of author

The bodega’s verdant color palette continues inside. The walls and rigidity columns are painted the same neon-lime green. The floor’s hardwood-styled linoleum, too, is mostly unscuffed, as if a plastic coating was peeled off just moments prior to my shopping. 

Photo: Courtesy of author

Sutter Market is also, without question, the most fastidiously organized family-owned corner store we’ve seen… maybe ever. Not only are all the store’s products symmetrically lined up, but the price labels for each stacked product are uniform. And this carries throughout the entire store; we found only a handful of instances where piled produce wasn’t perfectly aligned, which is probably the result of someone putting an item back without much care.

The prices are to be expected: above the average of those found in supermarkets, but slightly below more upscale grocers.

Leaving with a bag of veggie chips and Diet Coke in hand, we were smitten by the overall experience. The owners’ keen attention to detail — which includes that aforementioned nod to Type-A organization — and an assortment of purchasable goods, combined with the effusive staff, left us wanting to come back.

Did we just find our new favorite bodega in Lower Nob Hill? TBD, but we’ll be back for another sugar-free soda likely before the week ends.

Sutter Market is located at 1144 Sutter Street (Lower Nob Hill) and is open from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., seven days a week.

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