I’m going to put my linguistics degree to good use and give you a language lesson. Potrero translates from Spanish to “paddock” or “pasture,” a reminder that parts of San Francisco were once grazing land for farm animals. The word “provender” is derived from Old French, meaning “food” or “provisions,” specifically for those pasture animals. So it’s no surprise that San Francisco’s newest coffee shop by the same name fits in perfectly with the Potrero Hill neighborhood. See how well that comes together?
Provender’s name was an intentional and clever choice by the owners, as it sets the tone for how the cafe syncs up with the surrounding area. The owners are two brothers, Austin and Tony Ferrari, who originally hail from Cincinnati, but who are equally defined by their Italian heritage as by their Midwestern upbringing.
I met up with the two of them, bringing my Sicilian fiancé along in case I needed any wild Italian gesticulations translated, and together we learned about the history and inspiration for Provender.