KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Falletti Foods
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
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Friday, December 15, 2006
Falletti Foods


Falletti Foods is open. Perhaps I should say "Falletti Foods has re-opened in a new location after a long absence." Whatever the case, it now exists at 308 Broderick Street.

I had only a slight idea of Falletti's previous existence, even though I have lived here eleven years. and then, it was only in passing-- quite literally. I was driving down Fulton Street a few years ago with a friend. The new Albertson's was near completion. My friend asked, "Ever go to Falletti's?" He was annoyed that what he considered a good, local grocery store was being replaced by a mega-chain. I thought of a poor little Italian grandmother getting muscled out of the neighborhood by a gang of corporate thugs. This may or may not have been the case, but I have a thing for Italian grandmothers, so the idea was disturbing to me nonetheless. My friend, who is not a man I would consider nostalgic, sighed. Apparently, I had missed something worth sighing over.

Well, grandma got a brand new house. She was welcomed to her new neighborhood on November 7th. I finally made my way to visit her a couple of days ago, a little wary of disappointing myself, all those false memories of a place I had never before visited popping into my head, a little apprehensive of reviewing another grocery store. Will there be picket lines?

I almost walked by the store as I wandered up Fell Street. I had my nose in a book, so that is not surprising. I peered up from my paragraph, looked around me and backtracked a few yards. The sign was small, unassuming. I was expecting something big, something bright that yelled "Shop Here." I was expecting a slightly toned down version of Bristol Farms. I was wrong.



What I found was surprisingly small. Delightfully so. And very well organized. There is little chance of getting lost at Falletti's. Doubtful you will hear mothers shouting the names of their out-of-sight children. I think I was initially a little disappointed. Is that all? Where's the durian jam? Where's the speck? I realized that I had become so inured to gigantic grocery stores-- organic or otherwise-- that a small store felt so...small.

What I finally got through my thick head after roaming the place for a while was that this is a neighborhood grocery store. It serves its community. It's even adding to the community, with 70 condominuims freshly built right above the store-- a sort of built in customer base.



Falletti's has teamed up with a couple of well liked San Francisco stores to fill some of your other gustatory needs. Grab a cup of joe at Peet's Coffee to keep you company while you stand on line at the DMV across the street. Or, similarly, console yourself with a piece of bread pudding from Delessio Market & Bakery after failing your driver's test. Again.

By the way, you should be pleased to know that, though not a union store, Falletti's offers it's employees health benefits and, according to General Manager Alan Miloslavich, pays them a wage higher than union scale.

So... if you live in the neighborhood, drop by and shop with a clear conscience and an empty belly. Even if you don't live nearby, go for a little visit, just to see what a neighborhood grocery store should be like, in case you might have forgotten, like me.
 
 

8 Comments:

Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

Falletti's was well loved. It served much of the Western Addition, which, by no coincidence, had little supermarket options.

I was so happy to see it back! I want to call my friends who were bereft when it was razed. They movd to Portland. Maybe I could lure them back now?

Thank you for this sweet review, and for asking the questions you did.

12/15/2006 11:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post brought a tear to my eye. Down here in SoCal, I see great mom&pops like this one pushed out by massive corporations far too often. I'm glad Felletti has a new home, and that they're treating their workers right.

- Chubbypanda

12/15/2006 12:11 PM

 
Blogger Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic said...

Michael,

This is great! I live only a few blocks away from this gem and I doubt I would have been aware of it for a long time had it not been for you.

Thanks.

12/15/2006 2:55 PM

 
Blogger mingerspice said...

I wish that store had been open when I had my travails with the DMV (involving 3 separate fruitless visits). Bread pudding would have been consoling.

12/16/2006 1:19 AM

 
Blogger Michael Procopio said...

I never would have known of its existence had I not run into a cousin of mine who told me about it! I hear the old Falletti's was bigger, but I like the new size just fine.

I just read an article in The Week this morning about a little store built in 1900 in Anita, Iowa that was about to be squeezed out of existence by a Wal-Mart Supercenter a few miles away. Local residents formed a cooperative, raised the neccessary funds and are keeping the place going. Talk about a community coming together. That really warmed my heart today.

12/16/2006 2:40 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael,
glad to see that you and some of the local media are bringing attention to a dying breed of shopping in the City. My husband and I recently purchased a corner market in the Richmond District and have converted it to better meet the needs of the community. Though not a brand new location, we hope to serve the neighborhood which was left without a proper grocery store when Albertsons closed several years ago. We're offering many organic and locally produced items including Marin Sun Farms meat, Occasional Gourmet Spices, Taylor Maid Coffee, and Artisan Bakers bread and pastries. We also left about one-third of the shelf space open for requests from customers. The store was a scary experience for many years and people in the area were hesitant to purchase anything beyond a bag of chips. Please come by and introduce yourself sometime. What was once called Super K is now 6001 California Market on the corner of 22nd Avenue and California Street. We've only been open a month, but the community has welcomed us with much support and appreciation and for that we are most grateful. Just wanted to give you a heads up about us.
Thanks,
Sophia Markoulakis

12/17/2006 9:28 AM

 
Blogger Michael Procopio said...

Stephanie,

I'd be delighted to come visit your store when the insanity of the holidays subsides. Thanks!

12/21/2006 1:41 PM

 
Blogger Michael Procopio said...

Correction-- There is a profile photo of Stephanie Lucianovic next to the comment box, so I wrote her name while meaning to write Sophia. Oops.

12/21/2006 1:43 PM

 

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