You never know what you’re going to stumble upon at Dana’s Pantry. But to Dana Banks, who also owns The Parkway restaurant right down the block, that’s kind of the point.
“Originally, I wanted to have 100 percent what I wanted to have in my pantry — but then I started thinking about other gifts,” said Banks, who opened the doors at the shop’s Bethany boardwalk location last month. “It’s about finding cool things that you’re not going to see anywhere else.”
Equating the shop to Bethany Beach’s answer to somewhat of a Williams-Sonoma-type store, Banks said Dana’s Pantry carries a wide array of items for beachgoers’ own pantries and more. From soaps, shampoos and lotions from Savannah Bee, to cooking products from Stonewall Kitchen, and to anything one might need for a cocktail party — chances are Dana’s Pantry has it on the shelves.
“We have some fun gourmet items,” Banks explained. “It’s just kind of eclectic. It’s like a country-farmhouse feel. Everything for your beach house — just for when people are here and they go, ‘Where can I get that?’”
In addition to bar items, such as martini glasses, portable wine glasses, wine keys, strainers, muddlers and all kinds of drink mixes, the shop also carries party favors, such as drinking games and wine bags, to go along with plenty of bar and beach snacks.
For beachgoers looking for a snack, there are Taite’s cookies, crab salsa, jerky, gluten-free snacks, chocolates, specialty peanut butter, jams and crackers. And for dinner guests, there are capers, sardines, olives and much more.
All the sauces and snacks have, of course, been hand-picked by Banks herself, who’s been testing them in her kitchen to see what she likes best.
“The key lime juice I use in my key lime pie. The coconut milk I use in a lot of my stuff. The siracha sauce I use, the chipotle…” said Banks. “I’ve been incorporating and trying a lot of the products in with my cooking — like, I did pork chops with the maple-chipotle barbecue sauce. I did a fig jam with an apple butter… Different things. I use the peanut butter for the peanut butter burger at The Parkway.”
But unique food and drink items are not the only things to be found when browsing the store. There are also some items that one might not find in the typical pantry, including custom-made soy candles, “Home T’s” shirts and mats displaying home state pride, sunscreens from Coola, and even a pet section.
“My passion is people enjoying themselves when they come in here, and finding something that they like,” Banks explained. “It’s discovering something.”
While Banks, of course, still has a kitchen to run at The Parkway, she said she’s enjoyed her time being able to run the shop, talk with the customers and find new items to bring it.
“I really enjoy it. You get to talk to people on a different level,” she said. “This was a lot of fun to put together. I know that I’m going to keep adding, it’s going to evolve.”
Banks went on to note that, like The Parkway, Dana’s Pantry will remain open seven days a week throughout September before dialing the hours back for the second-season, but they’ll still be open when people are in town throughout the off-season, she assured.
The shop is located at 98 Garfield Parkway, Unit #108, in the Blue Surf building on the Bethany boardwalk, and is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the summer. For more information, check out their Facebook page or call (302) 616-2657.