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.
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.”
“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!”
“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 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!!!”
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”
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!”
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.”