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.