Cooking Matters

Our Cooking Matters program offers free cooking and nutrition classes to adults, children and families. We are always looking for volunteer chefs, nutritionists, and food lovers. Learn more about Cooking Matters here or click here to volunteer!

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Looking for the perfect gift? Click here to give a gift membership or gift certificate to 18 Reasons.

18 reasons is non-profit organization and a proud member of the Bi-Rite Family.


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What is 18 Reasons? A community center that deepens our relationship to food and each other. Through an innovative community center and thought provoking, fun programming, we inspire action and foster collaboration toward creating a just and sustainable food system.

When was 18 Reasons founded and by whom? It all started when Cliff Leonardi and Dan DiPasquo, active members of the 18th-and-Guerrero community, set out to create a workplace, a meeting and event venue, and gallery in the neighborhood. They dubbed the little storefront at 593 Guerrero Street “Blue Space” and happily carried out their mission until 2007, when Cliff and his family left for the arguably greener pastures of Portland. At that point, Cliff and Dan offered the reins to the folks at Bi-Rite Market, who for years had been dreaming of launching a space to more deeply connect neighbors with each other and with producers of food and wine. They leapt at the chance and renamed the space “18 Reasons.”

Why is it called 18 Reasons? If you’ve been in the Mission for a while, you may remember the large sign atop a building at the corner of 17th Street and Mission. It simply and mysteriously stated: 17 Reasons Why. It was tragically taken down in 2002 and replaced by an ordinary billboard. To mark the change in the gallery’s management and pay tribute to this much-missed icon, we decided to rechristen the space as 18 Reasons. 18 because of 18th Street, and because…well, it never hurts to have one more reason.

What is your relationship to Bi-Rite Market? 18 Reasons is part of the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses. We are our own organizational entity, and are currently a California non-profit with a fiscal sponsor. While we are independent from Bi-Rite Market, the Market provides the following in-kind support for 18 Reasons:

  • Funding for administrative overhead
  • Expert staff to lead educational workshops
  • Talented chefs to prepare community dinners
  • Accounting, janitorial, IT, and other support services
  • Contact with their vendor community
  • Point of purchase for 18 Reasons memberships
  • Promotion to the Bi-Rite community about 18 Reasons activities

Getting Here

Where are you located? We are located in the heart of the Mission district at 3674 18th St, between Dolores and Guerrero, in San Francisco, zip code 94110.

Where can I park my car? We encourage our guests to walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation whenever possible. Most of the street parking located around 18 Reasons is limited to 2 hours Monday through Friday until 9 PM, with no time limit on the weekends. Just one block away, around Dolores Park, many streets have unlimited parking all week long (except when noted for street cleaning). Allow extra time to find parking on Friday evenings and Saturdays, when many people come to socialize in our neighborhood.

What is the nearest BART station to 18 Reasons? The nearest BART station to 18 Reasons is the 16th & Mission station. If you arrive at this station you can walk west on 16th Street to Guerrero Street and turn left and walk south two blocks to 18th St. Turn right on 18th St, and we are located about 2/3rd of the way down the block on the right (north) side, next door to the Bi-Rite Creamery.

What are the closest MUNI lines to 18 Reasons? The following MUNI lines are within a few blocks of our location: 14, 22, 24, 33, 47, 49, and J.

I want to grab a bite to eat before/after an event. What do you recommend? The Mission district boasts a wide range of wonderful restaurants and cafes, many within a 5 minute walk of 18 Reasons. We encourage you to support our business sponsors when looking to dine before or after an 18 Reasons event: Tartine Bakery, Dolores Park Café, Pizzeria Delfina, Fayes Video (great if you just want a cup of coffee), and Bi-Rite Creamery (great if you just want something sweet).


What types of events do you host? We host a broad range of events including:

  • Community Dinners
  • Cooking Classes and Interactive Workshops
  • Dinner Lectures
  • Art Shows
  • Wine & Food Tastings
  • Book Clubs
  • Film Screenings
  • Social Gatherings & Themed Potlucks
  • Youth Programming

I have an idea for an event that I’d like to see you host. Do you want to hear it? Yes, please send it to We may not have the opportunity to respond to every idea submitted but we welcome you to share what you’ve got. Some of our favorite programs have been suggested by members of the community.

I want to teach a class/lead a workshop at 18 Reasons, how can I do this? We welcome experts from our community to contact us with proposals for workshops and classes they would like to lead at 18 Reasons. Generally those who teach classes and lead programs for us donate their time. The proposals we are most interested in are those that are specific and are a good fit for the interests of our community. Not specific enough: “I’d like to host some sort of event on beginner cooking” Specific: “I’d like to teach a class on basic knife skills” Not a match: “I’d like to lead a workshop on how to get on the Food Network” A match: “I’d like to offer my time to teach others how to put together their family recipes into a cookbook” Most material and supply costs for events are covered by 18 Reasons.

Who cooks your dinners? Our dinners are typically prepared by chefs who work in house at Bi-Rite Market. We welcome other volunteer professional chefs to submit a letter of interest for preparing dinners for 18 Reasons. Please note, all volunteer chefs must have access to a commercial kitchen and be able to transport the food for finishing and serving to 18 Reasons.

Will I have enough to eat at the dinner? We can almost always accommodate special dietary restrictions with enough advance notice. If you have purchased tickets to one of our dinners, please email us as soon as possible to inquire about what accommodations can be made. In some cases the theme of the dinner may prohibit us from designing a menu for someone with special dietary needs. For example, if we were featuring a dairy farmer at a dinner we would recommend that someone with a dairy allergy purchase tickets to a different event that they could enjoy more fully.

Can I bring my young child to an event? For any of our drop-in, non-ticketed events we welcome children to attend. We leave it to the discretion of the parent if the theme of the night would be of interest and appropriate for their children. For our ticketed events, we encourage you contact us with your child’s age and any specific concerns you have and we’ll do our best to help you determine if the event is a good fit for your child.

Do you sell gift certificates that can be used towards event tickets? Unfortunately, we are not equipped to process gift certificates at this time. If you want to share the 18 Reasons experience, we recommend giving a one-year membership ($50)…or treat them to the next event you attend!


Are there set hours when I can come look at the art in your gallery? At this time we have open gallery hours on Saturdays from 12-4PM. For a private viewing please contact our curator Casey Carroll. Please email her at

How do I submit art for consideration for an exhibition at 18 Reasons? Currently Casey Carroll, our curator, identifies and solicits exhibition proposals from artists. We do not accept unsolicited submissions, however we do host semi-annual community exhibitions; for these shows, we accept almost all submissions that fall within the specific theme or guidelines! Please continue to check back at our website for upcoming group show opportunities.

I have a question about your gallery/art programming that wasn’t answered here. Who do I contact? We’re happy to answer any questions you have. All art/programming questions can be directed to Casey Carroll at


How can I purchase a membership? There are three ways to obtain a new or renewed membership to 18 Reasons:

How many members do you have? As of June 2011, we have over 600 members.

Where does my membership and ticket money go? We’re working on a nifty info-graphic to help show how the membership fee breaks down. Until our graphic designer finishes it we can tell you that the majority our income that comes from membership fees goes to support our administrative costs (staff salary, etc.) and supplies (food, etc.). Without our members, 18 Reasons would not exist.

What do I receive when I become a member? When you become a member of 18 Reasons you gain access to members-only events, discounts on almost all other events, and that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with providing much needed support for a community-oriented organization, Additionally you will receive the following discounts from our supporting neighborhood businesses:

  • $5 off at Tartine Bakery
  • $5 off of a pizza at Pizzeria Delfina
  • $5 off at Bi-Rite Market
  • $5 off at Bi-Rite Creamery
  • 10% off of one purchase at Omnivore Books
  • 10% off of all purchases at Dolores Park Café
  • A free video rental at Fayes Video

Do all of your members live in the Mission District? Certainly there is a concentration of members who live in the immediate vicinity and neighboring parts of San Francisco. However, we also have a strong contingent of members who live in the farther outreaches of the city, the East Bay, South Bay, North Bay -- we even have a few members who live in other states!

Who is the typical 18 Reasons member? There isn’t one. Our membership is incredibly diverse -- united in their commitment to the work we do.

Can I give a membership as a gift? Absolutely! You can purchase a gift membership on our website, at Bi-Rite Market, or at any 18 Reasons event. In order for us to complete the processing of your gift membership we will need the full name, email address, phone number, and mailing address of the membership recipient. You can give a membership to a current member, even if their membership hasn’t expired. We will simply extend their current membership for an additional year.


Who works at 18 Reasons? At present we have two paid employees, our Program Director Rosie Branson Gill and our Events Coordinator Olivia Maki. Our chefs, guest instructors, featured artists, and board of directors also contribute greatly to 18 Reasons and do so on a volunteer basis.

Can I volunteer for 18 Reasons? We have core group of regular volunteers, called the 18 Reasons Crew, who help staff our events and work on projects. We are not currently seeking new Crew members, but do maintain a waiting list and encourage you to contact us at so that we can let you know when a spot opens up.

Are you hiring? Not at this time.

Can I be an intern at 18 Reasons? We periodically offer internships for special projects and we encourage you to submit a letter of interest, your resume, and any requirements you might have for an internship to Intern applicants who are active volunteers will be given preference as will applicants with a proven interest in food-based community development.


Can I rent 18 Reasons for my private event? Yes! We rent 18 Reasons and offer affordable pricing options for individuals, non-profits, and corporations. Please contact for more information.

What’s the story with the wooden table? The perfect blend of beauty, form, and function, our table and benches are made from a single fallen cypress tree salvaged in West Marin by Jason McLean. It was crafted by Peter Doolittle of PDX Productions and designed to accommodate the various needs of our diverse programming. In addition to serving as a wonderful gathering place for many of our events, the table can break apart into four smaller tables, which can also be raised for non-seated events. Peter can be reached at:

Are you on Facebook or Twitter? Yes! We are on Facebook (become a fan) and on Twitter (@18reasons)