I remember following Dana Sicko and Gundalow Juice back in the day and messaging her to meet up so that we could have lunch together. It was one of those times when you feel as though you meet someone but it feels like you were seeing an old friend. That’s rare,
Like so many others in my Baker’s Dozen series, I got to know Dana better and better as I followed her career for many years. She eventually stopped making juice (still miss Mainstay Green) and started doing more and more catering with Gundalow Gourmet. A few years into catering, she opened her very own storefront, which is now located at The Shops at Kenilworth. It is a beautiful shop and I love so many things she makes like the massive chocolate chip cookies, mac and cheese and chicken enchiladas. I hope you’ve been shopping at Gundalow, it’s the perfect place to pick up a hostess gift, buy yourself a new cookbook or simply pick up dinner. Like Williams-Sonoma, only Baltimore.
During COVID, Dana expanded into interior design. She’s now available for everything from one-hour design consultations to kitchen and whole home renovations. Check out some of her design work HERE. Another accolade worth mentioning is that Dana was a member of the first cohort of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses Program, rubbing shoulders with Warren Buffet and Michael Bloomberg. NBD.
Hope you will visit Dana at her gorgeous shop. Make sure you get the cookies.
Cake or Pie? And what kind?
Graul’s Cake: Strawberry frosted vanilla cake, covered in an absurd amount of sprinkles.
Your most prized possession?
I have two and I’m choosing to answer this as strictly as non-moving, non-living, non-breathing objects. An antique Peugeot coffee grinder that my husband and I found in Paris when we went on our honeymoon. The second is a copy of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee that my AP Bio teacher, Mr. Stranathan, gave me.
What’s your favorite thing to order out at restaurants?
Appetizers and Tapas. I only want small bites of everything.
What’s your favorite to cook at home?
What’s your morning beverage and how do you take it?
French-pressed coffee with oat milk.
What’s your personal motto?
What’s your favorite holiday and why?
I love the winter holidays and Thanksgiving, which in the Gundalow world really all blur together as one. Give me a cozy, cheesy, Polar Express hot chocolate type of feeling and I am happy as can be.
Best advice you were ever given? And from whom?
I have been a small business owner since I was 21, I have been given sooooooo much advice, a lot unsolicited, some helpful, some not. A woman mentored me early in my career and told me when I get the chance, go work somewhere else, go experience something else. Being self-employed with a team made that hard, but my team allowed me to do that, and Scott and I moved to the New England seacoast for a year. It was the best thing I could have done for my business and happiness. I’m so glad that I broadened my lens, and had the opportunity to get some space and learn.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?
Continuing through the pandemic and keeping my team intact. This is not an accomplishment that was just me, obviously, but it is my greatest accomplishment. I know this was a rare thing and a lot of it was pure luck (the size of the company we were, we weren’t a full-blown restaurant, the incredibly support of our customers, and so much more) but the fact that we made it through I don’t take lightly at all.
The last text you sent?
I’m the worst, sorry.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I have a lot:
- Antiquing with my husband, driving somewhere beautiful, and looking through items with so many stories.
- Laughing with my little nephew.
- Reading a book on a rainy day, curled up with my dogs.
- Watching Barb and Star with my best friend and then talking like Barb and Star for the foreseeable future.
- The first crisp morning of fall and then the first day of spring when all of the blooms explode.
- Pushing down my French press in the morning.
- A room perfectly brought together and styled.
- Walking around a new town/city and exploring.
- Singing Taylor Swift or Olivia Rodrigo in the car.
- Stonewall Kitchen in York, Maine. Devol Kitchens in Cotes Mill, Leicester, UK. Magnolia Silos Waco, Texas.
What do you love most about food?
It’s art and science. When I was in college and I got lab anxiety in chemistry and organic chemistry, I simply would think of the chemicals as food ingredients and it took my anxiety away. It’s humbling. Anyone can do it and the best recipes can come from the simplest of ingredients and the simplest of techniques. Most of all it’s an expression of love.
What’s your favorite place in Baltimore?
The part of Shawan Road where Misty Valley, John Brown, and Hedgerow exist. It reminds me of New Hampshire and when I need a bit of escapism, especially in the fall, I go there. I get something to eat, get a pumpkin, get a coffee, and enjoy the air.
Baker’s Dozen is an occasional column highlighting some very talented, hardworking and kind folks in the Baltimore food + beverage community. I hope you will make a point to support their businesses.