UPDATE: South San Francisco’s Iconic Galli’s Sanitary Bakery To Call It Quits

South San Francisco, CA   September 10, 2016  Updated Sept 12, 2016 11:30pm 

*UPDATE: “It’s just our time to retire” Tina Galli said “The outpouring of sentiments from so many is so sweet, so touching. The Galli family has had a wonderful 107 year run, it our time to move on”. While there is no specific closing date it will be in October. “We wanted to do this quietly” Tina smiled as she knows nothing in this town can remain quiet. “Since this has gone out on social media our phones haven’t stopped ringing – even people from the East Coast have heard about it!”

Since the passing of Ambi Galli five years ago the family business has fallen to Todd. “It’s always on his mind” Tina said “And he’s up at 2am to start his day and back and forth all day long. It will be nice to do something different.” The Galli family has no plans to leave the area, rather they look forward to spending more time with their adult children. When asked if they are selling the business there was an adamant NO. “This is our family business, it is our name. They are our recipes. We won’t sell.” Tina explained. When pushed to see if perhaps a cook book just might be a possibility Tina smiled and said, maybe in time. “The recipes are in our head, and in a large volume. We’d need to break it down – no one wants to bake 750 Panettone!”

They say all good things must end someday, we are so fortunate that the Galli family chose South San Francisco for their home and their business and that we have been so lucky to have them involved in all of our life events. We wish them the best as they move forward, knowing a piece of their heart will forever be with us all. Thank you for all the years!!

GALLI’S BAKERY TO CLOSE OCTOBER 2016

Over 107 years ago Sanitary Galli’s Bakery opened up to the delight of neighbors in South San Francisco. The family bakery was founded by Ambrose Galli and Italian immigrant Rafael Valence The bakers soon found a loyal following that has last over a century with the Galli family continuing the tradition with Ambrose Galli Jr and his son Todd Galli. They have continued to use recipes that have been passed down, generation by generation and enjoy as much today as 100 years ago.

Picking up goodies from Galli's Sanitary Bakery is a family tradition handed down one generation to the next

Picking up goodies from Galli’s Sanitary Bakery is a family tradition handed down one generation to the next

 

Upon hearing of the impending closure, customers from all over are understandably upset. Some blame the recent glut of new eateries on Grand Avenue as the reason. Pointing at Starbuck’s across the street complete with outdoor seating, one neighbor writes;

“Funny how Starbuck’s gets whatever they want wherever they are as they force small family-owned businesses out of the picture! This seems to be their “business model” with the SSF City Council and many other city councils complicit in their constant take-overs of neighborhoods. Starbuck’s will NEVER replicate Galli’s quality and their good relations with their community….they’re too busy cornering the coffee and pastry market to make nice with the neighborhoods they take over. To that extent they are like any virus or cancer, taking over a body and ultimately filling their hosts if left unchecked and “cured”! I do NOT patronize ANY Starbucks location ANYWHERE because of this. Besides, they’re hideously over-priced and the yuppies need to get over their “need” for specialty coffees and deal with plain old fresh brewed HOME before they head off for their terribly important workdays! I suggest EVERYONE in SSF pay a visit to and buy something from Galli’s, let them know how much you’ve cherished their presence, and maybe with enough business and compliments they’ll stay. I bought a Groupon for a restaurant right nearby and will stop in when I use it…you should too. This is a great loss indeed. What’s next, La Tapatia in favor of a Taco Bell????”

Tracy posts on our social media “Told ‘ya. All the natives are moving away. Give it a year or two and South City will be converted into what SF is turning into. Mark my words!”

Rene’ chastises “Instead of being sorry, all of you should have not been buying starbucks and all the other garbage corporate places. Your fault 🙁 ” to which many agreed although Ari had a different take “I go there every morning after getting Starbucks across the street. Damn.”

gallis bakery 3.18.2015 cookies 2

‘Noooooooo. My favorite bakery. I am in tears’ Louanna laments

 

“Slowly but surely every mom and pops store will close.. Gentrification at its best.. ” Samuel expressed. “With all these comments I’m sure if everyone rushed in today and tomorrow and continued the trend they might just be able to stay in business lol say no to Krispy Kreme and Starbucks!” Brian added. ” I grew up on Grand Ave and it’s sad to see the gentrification happening. All of the mom and pop shops are slowly moving out. And wait ’til when Google moves in. Smh” Marisol added.

Nancy questions “Do we know why? Are they choosing to close or is there anything we as their customers can do to help keep them stay open? Or are they another victim or the crazy prices the Bay Area is facing? Sadly this may be a sign of what’s to come in South City. We may be the next Mission loosing South City icons and Natives due to gentrification.. This is a scary thing people” Mike agrees “I moved here in 2011. I liked the small town feeling, I liked the fact family businesses seemed to be the anchor downtown. I have watched changes come here, some are good. This one is not.Will more follow?”

“Nothing lasts forever. It’s one thing if the owners decided to move on of their own accord. It’s another if they were forced to close down by extortionate rents.” Marco said.

Most neighbors were just shocked and saddened by the news, expressing the feelings of loss and memories of generations of delicious baked goods. “I love that place. My family’s been buying dessert there for over 50 years! I loved their Mango Tres Leche Cake and Focaccia …Delicious!!! So sad to hear they are closing.” Lisa L said.

Oliver O. too expressed his sadness over this news “This saddens me…feels like my childhood is being slowly erased with all the changes happening here. My mom would take me to Galli’s weekly for a lemon roll and cannoli. Every now and then I’d still buy them and year after year they amazingly taste the same. Galli’s is a SSF institution…the city won’t be the same.”

Diane R said, “I can’t believe it. For as long as I can remember my father always bought my brother, sister and my birthday cakes at this bakery. The cakes were a little on the expensive side but when you tasted these master pieces of confection it was a delight to your tastebuds. My father loved the Italian Rum cake and I loved the cake with the chocolate shavings on top. My heart is heavy with this news.”

Gigi S, representing generations of her family in South City said “Omg this is sad to hear. There is and will be no other bakery that can ever come close to them. I’m going to miss them and all their tasty treats.”

Jennifer writes “Oh no! How sad. Used to walk down there from my first two jobs on Grand Avenue back in the 70’s for a treat on my coffee breaks. My mom used to order dinner rolls from them for all the holidays!”

"Is this the last cake from Galli's?" Vinny Vance asks as he shares a photo of his daughter's recent BD cake

“Is this the last cake from Galli’s?” Vinny Vance asks as he shares a photo of his daughter’s recent BD cake

 

“This is so sad. Brings tears to my eyes. I was born and raised in South City. I have fond memories of going to 7:30am mass with my parents at All Souls and immediately after walking down to Gallis to get a special treat to enjoy after our morning breakfast. It will be missed.” Monica G said. Leanne echoes the sentiments “Deeply very deeply saddened !!! I have bought so many birthday cakes for numerous family and friends which were always delicious. The cookies pastries doughnuts and even the focaccia bread! Where will I go to now???”

“So sad and sorry to see this come to an end. Growing up in So. City it was a tradition on every occasion to have that special cake made for birthdays, christenings, holy communions, confirmations, you name it, The Mocha cake was my favorite as a young girl.” Sharon writes “The Carelli and Dever families have many fond memories. Whenever I returned to visit, a stop was always made to bring back a goodie or a snack to munch on while driving back home.” Sarita too expressed sadness ” Very sad. This place is a family tradition for us. Only birthday cakes from Galli will do.”

Marcy shares her memories and asks one last favor from the Galli’s -Please put out a cookbook!  “When we’d go to buy our school uniforms at Santini’s I would sneak out and go watch cakes get frosted!! Loved, loved the meringue drops!? and ANY CAKE!” and more memories shared by Kelly “So very sorry to hear this. I grew up with this bakery, as my father worked in the area and would bring home wonderful treats & cakes. Many years later still enjoy them & have to say their Bisciottis are the best you can buy. Please Galli family put out a cookbook.”

Jaime S also encourages the Galli family to write a cookbook “Awe they need to write a cookbook, I want all The recipes. Such great memories! Sunday mornings after church! Dutch crunch bread and my mother loved the Beehives!”

 

"Our delicious wedding cake came from there!!!" Alicia Smith Penzel exclaims

“Our delicious wedding cake came from there!!!” Alicia Smith Penzel exclaims

 

“Our family ordered every communion, confirmation and baptismal cake from Galli’s (Pink Champagne). I am so sad to hear they’re closing.” Vonda writes. Anna said “So sad. Love going there. 4 generations have gotten our sweet tooth fix in that bakery. They will be missed.”

“Oh no…. I would save my lunch money n go there after school n get me a slice of chocolate mousse pie …” Wende remembers. Connie S too will miss them as she writes “So many memories. We have for 47 years we have had birthday cakes and wedding cakes graduation cakes from them let alone all the Dutch crunch rolls. I don’t think there is anything we haven’t bought in all that time. Will miss going there and them knowing us and chatting so helpful they were to carry cakes out to our car. Just walking in there every thought goes out of my head with the warm homey baking smells. This family will miss all of them big time.”

Ann N. wrote “This is sad news to wake up to this morning. I have known the Gallis for over 30 years – Ambi Sr. Ambi Jr. Marilyn Tod Tina and their family. My husband (Steve Canziani) used to go in the back in the wee hours of the morning after work and watch Ambi make all those wonderful cakes… This bakery will sure be missed by all of SSF. Not to mention their Easter bunnies, crab cakes but most of all I will miss Marilyn’s smiley face!!!”

Francine Cistulli Graben shares a photo of her wedding cake by Galli's

Francine Cistulli Graben
shares a photo of her wedding cake by Galli’s

Dale R wrote “I remember when I was a kid (a really LONG time ago), the Sanitary Bakery truck would come to my neighborhood every morning. My mother would buy our bread and desserts from the truck. Ambie Galli was very young and he drove the truck. We would all stand on the sidewalk waiting for the bakery truck to come. Times have really changed. Where will I buy Florentine cannolis now. Sad.” Athena followed up with her memories “No! I love them, I lived next door to them and every morning around 3-4 am I would wake up to the delicious smell of chocolate. One morning I guess the Baker had to go to the roof when low and behold he got locked out I woke up that morning to yells and loud bangs, I went to the front if the store and pounced louder on the door just to tell them the Baker is locked out on the roof. They were very grateful. I know it was cold out there that winter. I will miss my morning donut and cadillac coffee”

This was 29 years ago - the best cake every by Galli's Sanitary Bakery! We will never forget that frosting! says Debbie Strickling Bullock {update}

This was 29 years ago – the best cake every by Galli’s Sanitary Bakery! We will never forget that frosting! says Debbie Strickling Bullock
{update}

Galli’s has been our small town connection, a favorite destination for most everyone living here, past & present. “Oh no! Sad to hear. One of favorite memories is my papou (grandpa) would bring us grandkids the animal or different shaped cookies with the hard icing design. We always couldn’t wait to see what we got! And also pieces of focaccia bread!” Tina said. “So sad. Love going there. 4 generations have gotten our sweet tooth fix in that bakery. They will be missed.” Anna shared. “Noooooooo!!!! So many memories of getting pastries there, from my Mom (RIP), to me and my son’s walking down from All Souls after school. Best wishes to the family and Thank you” Jean wrote. “Wow!! Sad news, bought many cakes for Genentech parties. Focaccia was the best!!: Juan added.

“This is so sad… It is by far my favorite bakery. I get the Italian Rum (with whip) from there for my birthday every year. We get their cakes and focaccia for every function we have. Every March 17, we get their Irish soda bread. Their wreath cakes and cookies are the best! They bake like they did in the old days… a lost art:-( ” Pat Murray writes “Is there anything we can do to change their mind? It’s really a piece of SSF history we shouldn’t lose!”

Ray's birthday cake was created special by Galli's Bakery (which is only 7 years older than Ray!)

Ray Bagley recently celebrated his 100th birthday & enjoyed his cake which was created special by Galli’s Bakery (which is only 7 years older than Ray!)

 

Galli’s bakery is noted as the creators of the Dutch Crunch Bread back in the early 1900’s and the trend that was a secret to our neighborhood is now a staple in the bread industry, although most will agree the Galli’s bread is second to none. “I remember being out of town and ordering a sandwich, asking for Dutch Crunch. I don’t know what they gave me but it wasn’t the Dutch Crunch that I grew up on. They bake the best!” Jasmine tagged a friend on our FB page and said “Time to get our dutch crunch rolls while we still can!”

“So this is our family bakery. My entire family has revolved around this place. Lots of great memories growing up there.”Greg Galli explained. “Now there is no more family to take over and run it. Different career paths for Todd’s kids.”

Eileen reminisced thanking the Galli family “Been there every Sunday morning before church for many years even drive down from Santa Cruz too THANK YOU GALLI FAMILY FOR ALL YOUR YEARS OF BAKING AND ENJOYED EVERYTHING WE BOUGHT.BLESSINGS TO YOU”  Christina said ” So sad it’s coming to an end. I grew up with so many tasty treats and still stop by every once in a while. Thanks Galli Family, I’ll miss you.”

And the goodbyes and thank you’s continue. “So sorry to hear. Life memories from birthday cakes to our wedding cake. One of the things we missed most and always went back to visit. Good luck to the family and thanks for all the treasured memories.” said Kathy Gardner Hansen. “So sad it’s coming to an end. I grew up with so many tasty treats and still stop by every once in a while. Thanks Galli Family, I’ll miss you.” wrote Christina Fedelin Oates.

Brian seems to summarize this for us all “This makes me sad. Much love to the Galli family.”

 

Galli Bakery Christmas 2010

This December will mark the first time in over 107 years Christmas treats will not be available from Galli’s

22 comments for “UPDATE: South San Francisco’s Iconic Galli’s Sanitary Bakery To Call It Quits

  1. debbi whitehead leotta gerecke
    September 10, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    my heart is breaking…..there are two places i MUST go to when i return to visit the old stomping grounds (i now live in fargo)….sanitary bakery and little lucca’s…..i have introduced so many people to the bakery….their “fugazza” was amazing….never seen or tasted anything like it anywhere erlse….and i’ve lived and traveled over all the country (49 out of 50 states!)

    so sad!!…..please add my name to the list of people hoping that they will bring out a cookbook….it would be a labor of love and a gift to all of us who have fond memories of that wonderful place!

  2. Kevin O'Driscoll
    September 11, 2016 at 7:39 am

    As others have already mentioned, this is a piece of my childhood that is disappearing. My favorite was the Florentine Cannolis, I have never had as good a cannoli. They are even better than what I have had at Mike’s in Boston, which are “wicked awesome”. For years I would get 1 (okay, 2 or even 3) before or after a workout. Fortunately for me, my brother gave me 10 for my birthday this year. It seems sad that as we move forward in life, many of the things from our youth disappear…I guess this is life, all part of the Wheel.

  3. Maria D Reynoso
    September 13, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Galli’s Bakery will be hearfelt missed. I was raised in South City 1973 to present. My parents bought your delicious birthday cakes for my siblings and I. I love their cookies, pastries and foccacia. ???????
    Best wishes???

  4. Michele Vecchione Yano
    September 13, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    So very sorry to hear the bakery will close. My Uncle, Ambrosio Galli, loved working with his family, and we will miss you all very much!

  5. Suzi Fregeau
    September 13, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    54 years ago I bought my oldest sons baptism cake..LOVED it..Chocolate w/buttercream (REAL buttercream…)after my second boy I was supposed to be on a diet (gained quite a bit)..after HIS baptism, same cake, same bakery, my husband asked me to not have any more cake…he left for work…I tried to cut a piece so that he wouldn’t notice…didn’t work, so I ate the entire half of the cake that was left, loaded up my two boys, one 18 months old, the other 3 months old, into their stroller, walked from Cherry Ave in So. City to the bakery, bought another cake (same as the baptism cake) got home, ate half of the new cake (so my husband would be so proud of me cause there was still a half of a cake left when he got home that night…well, needless to say when he wanted to share a piece of cake as we watched TV…I declined and he was even more proud of me for turning down a piece of the most wonderful cake in the world…I never did tell him I had eaten an entire cake in one afternoon….LOVED that bakery, living in Northern California but whenever in the So City area I always went to Sanitary Bakery for a special treat = a treat like no other, even better than the best bakery(ies) in North Beach…

  6. Frank
    September 14, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I have patronized Galli Bakery for 50 years. I used to deliver newspapers on Grand Avenue in the 60’s and would stop in there to get my jelly donut, 12 cents…They have made me so many cakes: My wedding cake, birthday, communion, baptism cakes for my children, countless cakes for places I worked. I referred many, many happy people to Galli. Going to miss them. If this is progress, then I prefer not to progress.

  7. Angela Bonino
    September 14, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    I worked at Galli’s in high school… I feel blessed to have worked at such an amazing place .Working with and getting to know the Galli Family was always great, it made me feel like such a part of South City and its history. My dad and sisters were born in South City and this is were I grew up…We were up in South City recently, I wanted to stop by and pick up of few of my favorites and they happened to be closed that Sunday.Then to find out they were closing, it is so sad to hear. There will be such fond memories for me and my family of Galli’s and the wonderful family that owned it…I loved it all. The bakery and the family will be very missed.

  8. Pattie Perry
    September 16, 2016 at 11:06 am

    We always used Sanitary bakery for celebrations at Bank of America’s (North Beach) Columbus Branch (now also closed). This news breaks my heart! First, Little Joe’s on Broadway closed years ago and then BofA relocated HQ to Charlotte, NC. I retired from BofA in SF many years ago and now live in NC. I ask bank employees here if they know the story of how A.P. Giannini started the bank and they reply – Who? Never heard of him! We, who have known the rich history of family owned businesses, are blessed. Good luck and happiness in your life.
    Pattie Perry

  9. Kevin Berry
    September 18, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Todd & Tina (& the rest of the Galli family),
    THANK YOU for many years of wonderful & delicious memories.
    I’m especially glad that you were able to make that wonderful cake for my M&D’s 50th wedding anniversary (several years ago). It was a special part of that special day.
    I wish you all the very best in the years to come.
    Your creations will be missed. …but not forgotten.
    Kevin Berry
    (SoCity High Class of ’81!). 🙂

  10. your neighbor
    September 19, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Mr. Galli made the best raised doughnuts EVER ! Always just the right amount of glaze and plump.

    Mrs. Galli used to sell me frosting for my amateur cakes and I’ll never forget she was so nice to sell me just the frosting. The bakery has not been the same since she left us, blame whoever you want but their pastries were so special so delicious.

    My husband loved their spanish cookies, and the molasses cookies too. They stopped making the spanish cookies, that is sad enough, now no more Galli’s? Unthinkable

  11. September 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    The Galli’s made my wedding cake 42 years ago. One month after the wedding, my mother at the top layer of the cake which was in the freezer. My husband has gone back there every year and gotten another cake for us to share. So, the Galli’s have made me 43 wedding cakes. I appreciate them and while I am sad that there will be no more cakes, I wish them a very happy and healthy retirement.
    Linda Sullivan

  12. Angela Gerszewski
    September 26, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    I cannot believe this news! I’ve been a customer for 50 years; started as a 5-year old with my mom. There will never be another bakery like this. Thank you for a life filled with deliciousness. I cry as I type.

  13. Allison Williams
    September 28, 2016 at 10:33 am

    The Galli’s made 2 cakes for our families to announce that we were pregnant with a little girl. We loved the cakes! We also love all the pastries they make. So yummy and rich. We will truly miss your bakery – I was hoping some day in the near future that I would be going back to your bakery to put in my second 2 cake order to announce our second child. Enjoy retirement – Grand Avenue will never be the same.

  14. Jeanette F
    October 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I grew up in SSF and as children we spent many Saturday’s going to all the shops on Grand Avenue, including Galli’s Bakery. Thank you for so many memories … I got married in 1977 and of course my wedding cake came from Galli’s. Your focaccia is like no other … it is the best I have ever tasted! I have brought it to many party’s throughout the years! After I moved to Sacramento I would always stop in at Galli’s when I was in town. You will be missed by many generations fortunate to have you as part of our lives.

  15. October 13, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I grew up in South City, moved here from San Francisco 1949 to Mayfair Village. I remember as if it was yesterday, hearing the horn from Galli’s bakery truck, driven by Paul Cinquini driving through the neighborhood selling their pastries and french bread. All the women would come out in their robes with rollers in their hair so as not to miss the treats. Paul would stop, pull out the trays with jelly donuts, maple bars, brownies……..those were the good old days.
    Our family will miss Marilyn, Todd and Tina. They have helped us with all our goodies during the holidays, and in between, making it very special. We admire you Todd for all your
    stick-to-itiveness, your Dad and your Grandfather would be very proud, having a neighborhood business is extremely difficult, especially this day and age and you kept it going for a long time. Everything that we had from your bakery was absolutely delicious. Your a marvelous baker and a great guy. We wish you and your family the best of everything……..Sincerely, Ron and Karin Payne

  16. JOANIE CESANO
    October 13, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    I can’t tell you how sad I was to find this out today…my parents grew up in South San Francisco and my dad’s first job was in the kitchen of Sanitary Bakery. When my grandparents would come down to Belmont my grandpa would bring either a bag of their amazing chocolate cake doughnuts or that apricot pie with the sugar crust on top…so much of my childhood will be passing when they close.

    Wish you all the happiness in the world – or at least half as much as all the happiness you’ve given over your 107 years!

  17. Stephen Berry
    October 15, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Todd & Family:

    The number of times I would come into the store an get one of those Chocolate Cannoli’s.
    I used to laugh when I would come back from Lunch on a Saturday and discover that Ambi had dropped off a Wedding Cake from a now cancelled order at the Hardware Store. Or the number of times Nick would head up to your Bakery to get several loaves of fresh baked bread for a afternoon snack.

    So it was no surprise at Mom’s Birthday this past year when Kevin asked if I’d picked anything up from you yet.

    Galli’s has always been an iconic part of our family, It will be missed by our family and others that have had their lives enriched by all that Wonderfully Sweet Delicious …. (I’m going to run out of adjectives’) goodies.

    Maybe it’s kind of a blessing that both my Wife and My Youngest Daughter love to bake, but there is still no replacing Galli’s. My Family will miss that little shop.

    Todd, I know that you will create something else that bring much joy to those around you. Kevin and I still talk about that car of yours. You helped make your Family Business one of the best part of S.S.F.

    I’ll be looking forward to what your Family Creates in the near Future, but we will still miss that store.

  18. Darlene Cypert
    October 15, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Well our family grew up next to Mr and Mrs Ambrose Galli Sr and they were always bringing us cupcakes, donuts, cookies.. and the cupcakes always had those plastic picks with halloween, christmas, easter decorations. The dutch crunch rolls were my favorite.. oh wait no the panetone.. no wait the foccacia… oh it was ALL so good. Although I moved away and only got to go back a few times,I will always remember the best bakery to go to!!! Best wishes to Todd and Tina, know that you carried on your grandparents and your parents amazing legacy …

  19. Juanita C
    October 22, 2016 at 1:52 am

    My family has been getting our cakes from Sanitsry Bakery since the 70s. Love their focaccia and cupcakes, too. Real buttercream -not the sugary crap you get at Safeway or Costco. There are fewer and fewer real hometown small businesses anymore, just large corporate cookie-cutter places. Reality, it’s all our faults for looking to save a buck and go for the cheapest imported crap from the WalMart-type businesses. Just……sad.

  20. Barbara L. SSF High
    November 6, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    so sorry to see this bakery close. it’s a tough business with very early and long hours and hard work. my wedding cake came from here 45 years ago, along with many baked treasures. my Dad bought a cake here to take to my Grandfather’s birthday in Maryland. not that they don’t have bakeries there, but my Dad thought this was the best, and it was! best whishes to the Galli family. thanks for the memories and your labor of love…

  21. Raquel Reynoso
    April 1, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I wanted a donut..from Galli Bakery..sad to know ..Bakery closed their doors..

  22. January 12, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    I just found out. Back in the day, a flight into SFO meant a stop at Galli’s Sanitary Bakery on the way into The City to pick up some slices of the world’s best focaccia — if my flight arrived early enough in the day to get there before it all sold out, which it invariably did. Yet another culinary memory from the Bay Area, gone forever. The Galli family has earned a sweet retirement and I wish them all the best…but it still hurts.

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