Nobody wants to spend time at the laundromat. Dirty, stuffy, devoid of natural light—most laundromats succeed at attracting a clientele solely because there are no other options. But in San Francisco’s Mission District, Laundré is changing all of that with a spotless space, grilled cheese sandwiches, and an espresso machine, striking the right balance of utility and indulgence.
“I love the Mission. It’s alive with diversity, culture and inspiring small businesses. I feel lucky to be among them,” says founder Ariana Roviello, who sought to turn a weekend chore on its head. Upon first entering the Laundré, it seems like nothing more than a beautifully designed coffee shop. Sunlight streams in through wrap-around windows. Counter seating lines Laundré’s perimeter as well as the coffee bar, while thoughtfully placed couches, arm chairs, and long tables fill the rest of the floor space. The menu offers local pastries and an assortment of toasts and egg dishes, which customers eat while reading newspapers, taking photographs of their beetroot lattes, and chatting with friends.
If it weren’t for the evocative name or the neon sign reading “Wash Me,” it’d be easy to overlook the laundromat portion of the space. But behind the café sits a room full of top-of-the-line Electrolux washers and dryers, which are both more time and water efficient than other machines. There’s always free detergent, and on Wednesdays, free coffee and free drys sweeten the deal.
No need to be bothered with multiple trips or worry about stolen garments. Customers can enjoy cups of craft coffee or use the free WiFi to get work done without abandoning their loads of laundry. An overwhelming sense of clean unifies the café and laundromat, too. And the café section is designed with the same thought in mind, with plenty of room, modern light fixtures, and lots of light wood and white.
In a neighborhood where the majority of residents are renters who rely on laundromats, Laundré’s concept is particularly effective. This means that Roviello attracts a clientele that’s more diverse than that of your average trendy café. “I’m very proud that we serve a wide spectrum of people,” she says. “From young couples, large families, and everything in-between; all do their wash with us. After all, laundromats are the great equalizer – everyone has to wash their clothes.”
2401 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
- You’ll like it here if: you live in the neighborhood and you’re tired of crowded, dirty laundromats or you just need a good place to grab a matcha and rest your feet for a bit while exploring the Mission
- The crowd: varies—millennials taking photos of their avocado toast mingle with long-time Mission residents
- You’ll know you’re in San Francisco because: real estate is so expensive that space for an in-unit washer dryer is rare… thus, the need for such an establishment
- Pro tip: come on a Wednesday for complimentary coffee and free use of the dryer