Noe Valley Voice July 2011

Store Trek

By Karen Topakian

Store Trek is a regular Voice column profiling new stores and businesses in Noe Valley. This month, we introduce a 24th Street dental practice specializing in orthodontics and dentistry for kids, and a 22nd Street boutique selling new and vintage kitchenware.


Orthodontist Shahram Nabipour designed Noe Valley Smiles and Braces to be comfortable for both kids and adults.    Photo by Pamela Gerard

Noe Valley Smiles and Braces/
Noe Valley Smiles for Kids

3932 and 3934 24th St. between Sanchez and Noe streets


Red, green, and blue blocks of color, shiny white walls, and large stuffed animals greet visitors to Noe Valley Smiles and Braces/Noe Valley Smiles for Kids, a combination orthodontic and pediatric dentistry practice that opened wide on 24th Street in March.

According to orthodontist Shahram Nabipour, D.D.S., M.S.D., pairing the two specialties made good sense in Noe Valley, known as a mecca for kids. “The point is to start the kids in this neighborhood on the right foot. Bring them in and become their pedodontal [childhood] dentist and then carry them through their teen years. And if they need braces, I’m here to do that. Then hand them off to a general dentist.” 

Everything about the practice serves both specialties, including the high-tech examination chairs which adjust to any size—child, teen, or adult, notes pedo­dontist Monika Meekay, D.D.S.

Located at 3932 and 3934 24th St.—in the storefronts formerly occupied by the Lisa Violetto boutique and General Nutrition Center—Noe Valley Smiles features state-of-the-art digital X-rays, a brightly lit open bay of examination chairs, private treatment rooms, automatic faucets for hand-washing, and colorful, cushioned benches.

“This doesn’t look like a dental office. That’s by design,” says Dr. Nabipour, who points out that the space was laid out to be both doctor-friendly and kid-friendly. “The doctor needs to be able to maneuver easily and do his or her job, and the patient needs to feel comfortable and not intimidated.”

At the moment, Dr. Meekay’s clients dominate the practice. “Most of our patients are under the age of 5,” says Dr. Meekay, who focuses on preventive dental care starting from age 1.

She begins her care by asking parents a list of questions about their children’s oral hygiene and behavior. “We make sure each parent and each child is on the right track. The goal of our practice is not restorative dental work. The goal is for each child to not have a cavity and in order to do that we have to do a lot of prevention,” says Dr. Meekay. “If I see a cavity, then we do the restorative work but we keep emphasizing with parents this is a preventable disease. We don’t have to see another cavity.”

Dr. Meekay, who is a member of the faculty at University of the Pacific and UCSF dental schools, believes that the younger she sees the child, the quicker she can correct any bad habits. Having an orthodontist on hand can also help with other development issues.

“If I see something at an early stage, I have an orthodontist [Dr. Nabipour] there who may be there on the same day and can do a quick consult and not have to bring the patient back for a second visit,” she says.

Dr. Nabipour’s orthodontics practice starts with patients as young as 7 or 8. “It’s not so much to put braces on kids as to monitor. There are certain things I can do at age 7 that cannot be done as easily when someone is 12 or 13. The bone, the jaw structure is malleable. I can move things back and forth,” says Dr. Nabipour, who received his D.D.S. certificate and master of science degree from the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry at University of the Pacific.

However, there’s no upper limit to the age of his patients. “Some older patients are in that rejuvenated mode and want to get things done,” says Dr. Nabipour, who sees patients in their 60s and 70s.

The owners of Noe Valley Smiles and Braces/Noe Valley Smiles for Kids are Dr. Nabipour and Dr. Siamak “Mack” Jafari, an orthodontist who practices in Pittsburg, Calif. Dr. Nabipour says the partners chose 24th Street to fill what they saw as a big gap in the neighborhood. Before now, “most of the people had to go to West Portal or Ocean Avenue [to find an orthodontist],” says Dr. Nabipour.

Noe Valley Smiles is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. “For patients, we’re limiting our days to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday,” says Dr. Nabipour, who hopes eventually to see patients on Saturdays.


Plates, bowls, and canisters fill Pot + Pantry, the 22nd Street creation of Donna Suh Wageman.    Photo by Pamela Gerard

Pot + Pantry
3412 22nd St. between Fair Oaks and Guerrero streets


In less than a month, Donna Suh ­Wageman turned the 200-square-foot space previously occupied by Leisure Birds at 3412 22nd St. into Pot + Pantry, a cozy little boutique for new and gently used kitchenware.

“It looks like a small kitchen,” says Wageman, a former Williams-Sonoma employee. “I tried to make it reflect how people’s kitchens look, with their mother’s and grandmother’s mixed in, with the new and old alongside each other.”

Wageman displays her mixing bowls, French press coffeepots, green glass hand-juicers, and pots and pans on top of narrow butcher-block tables, in cabinets, and on a white 21-inch O’Keefe and Merritt four-burner stove. Kitchen utensils hang artfully from an orange painted pegboard.

The cookware is a mix of familiar objects and culinary curiosities. There is a mid-century stovetop percolator selling for $50, a set of four apricot Pyrex bowls decorated with white flowers ($65), and a pig-shaped cutting board made by J.K. Adams Co. of Vermont ($32). Tea towels designed by local artist Cristina Espinosa, with images of spring bulbs or birds donning party hats, sell for $11 apiece.

“I try to be reasonable to the people I buy from and the people I sell to,” says Wageman. “For the most part, I basically operate similarly to a secondhand clothing store. Customers are invited to bring in their secondhand items. I’ll pay 35 percent of the retail value in cash or 50 percent in store credit.”

Wageman says she buys items on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. But she’ll also make appointments if you call 24 hours in advance.

Pot + Pantry caters to all kinds of cooks, including “the person who is excited to start cooking, to getting started on an adventure in the kitchen,” says Wageman. “I have really experienced cooks who work at Tartine and just home cooks who want something decorative in their kitchen.”

Half of her customers are looking for basic items like pots and pans and whisks, she says. “And half are looking for gifts like heart-shaped measuring spoons,” says Wageman, gesturing toward a set of pewter Beehive Kitchenware spoons selling for $48.

A resident of SoMa, Wageman says she chose the 22nd Street location (and opened her doors last November) because it was sandwiched between Noe Valley and the Mission, “in a neighborhood known for really good restaurants and eating.”

On Sunday, July 24, Pot + Pantry will host a pop-up shop for FARMcurious .com, founded by urban homesteaderNicole Kramer. The party, planned for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., also will feature Dandelion Chocolate and a wine-infusion demonstration by Sean Timberlake of Punk Domestics (known for his canning and pickling).

Pot + Pantry is open Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 12:30 to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shop is closed on Mondays.