WNP489 – Boudin Bakery
Nicole: [00:00:00] It’s Outside Lands San Francisco, podcast of the Western Neighborhoods Project. I'm Nicole Meldahl. And hello Outside Landers! Let me tell you, it feels so great to be with you here again for my first podcast of 2023. and it feels even better to be here with Mike Giraudo, who's, I hope I pronounced his name right.
Mike: That was very good. Very good. Yes. It's rare and I get it, get it done right. So that's good.
Nicole: Yeah, it’s the only name I've ever pronounced correctly on this podcast. So, coming in strong for 2023. Now Mike comes from a very storied family, and if you like sourdough bread and clam chowder, then you are gonna love the history that he's gonna share with us today. So, without further ado, welcome Mike!
Mike: Well, thank you. Thank you very much. Glad to be here.
Nicole: [00:01:00] So Mike, let's start with a really super-duper hard trivia question for you.
Mike: Sure. Let's go for it.
Nicole: What iconic San Francisco business has your family been involved in for decades?
Mike: Well, that's an easy one. That's the oldest sourdough bakery in San Francisco would be Boudin Bakery.
Nicole: And Boudin is not Mike's last name.
Nicole: So, if you're confused, don't worry. We're gonna explain that in a minute…
Mike: We’ll cover that. Yes.
Nicole: We're also gonna explain that Boudin actually has deep Western neighborhood roots that most people don't think about. And, I'm gonna tell you right off the bat, I did none of this history. Mike has done all the heavy lifting for us, thank God. Because he's been delving into his family history, sort of separating family facts from corporate fiction, and he has very generously offered to share all of that with us today. So, let's start with the very most important thing. You're a podcast fan Mike, right?
Mike: That’s correct. That's correct. Big time. Yeah, all I've listened to every single [00:02:00] one of 'em I think.
Nicole: It still blows my mind when people tell me that. That means you've given us so much of your time. So…
Mike: While driving.
Nicole: It feels so, it feels so good when people tell us that. And like, and you also, it made me feel even better cause you actually picked up some research pointers from the podcast as you were getting into…
Mike: Very much so.
Nicole: The history.
Mike: Yeah. It was very helpful. It was very helpful. I've studied this stuff or looked into it, even as a kid, taking the L-Taraval, grew up in the Sunset, taking the L-Taraval down to the main library and going through the San Francisco directories and stuff. And you know, a long time ago now, I can sit at home and just get so many things and more and more, and I'm sure I'm missing a bunch. I bet there's people out there who get, get, who can direct me in even more ways. But, but yeah, with OpenSFHistory's been great. Ancestry, of course, and all those things, it's just so much right there at your fingertips.
Nicole: And I still…
Mike: And a lot of it I learned through the podcast. Yeah. Or at least if anything got me inspired.
Nicole: Yeah. We didn't pay him to say any of that. I just [00:03:00] record.
Nicole: But, okay, so you picked up some pointers for us, which is great. So Mike, let's go all the way back to the big, the beginning when, before Boudin was actually Boudin Bakery. Cause you've gone all the way back to this company's history.
Mike: That's correct, yes. It's the, it's known as the, along with Tadich Grill, the longest existing business in San Francisco to 1849. And I haven't, wasn't able to find anything all the way to 1849, but I did find the first mention of, of the Boudin family and the bakery, which at that time was called French Bakery and was up until 1907. Found them in the, in, in the, in the directory there. But there's probably some information that they're, that they were there from 1849. The story is that Louis Boudin with his wife and his son is, came to San Francisco, right about 1849 during the Gold Rush. And he was a, was born in France in the Burgundy area, was a master baker there. Even brought the sourdough [00:04:00] culture with him. That's the story. I can't verify that, so I won't put so much into that. But that makes a good corporate story and everything. But we know it dates at least back to 1852, you know, in that type of deal. But we'll call it 1849. So, he's set up shop, you know, he may have been in a tent before that. Cause you know how the city was during the Gold Rush.
But by 1852-1853, he set up shop on DuPont Street, which is now Grant Avenue, right between Green and Union at 1412 and a half. And the 1412 and a half was kind of interesting because I think, well that's kinda a weird number. And it did say rear. And the family lived there, but it wasn't just Louis Boudin and his family. But it was also a man named Benjamin Geezy. So, it was actually Benjamin, it was Boudin and Geezy French bakery. That was his partner. I have to assume. I couldn't find anything on it that they were related, cause he lived there also. And it was also his residence. But the bakery actually was down little alleyway right off DuPont Street. It was actually what would be in the backyards of the, of that block right now.
Mike: Which did fit with, we have two pictures in [00:05:00] the, in that we got in the companies you know, since the ‘70s that we got from the Boudin family. And one of them is in the DuPont Bakery, or in front of the DuPont Bakery with a, with the Isidore Boudin, his wife, and it's his two, the two sons and one of the, one of the daughters. And there's a horse and carriage and it looks like a backyard. So, I've seen that all my life. Looking at that picture now, don't make sense. They really were in a backyard and they ran that there and until up until 1880 at sometime before that, Louis died and his son Isidore took over. And at around that same time Benjamin Gleezy split off and started his own bakery right across the street. Which is kinda interesting, like, wow that's started competition right across the street. But that wasn't unusual in that area. In fact, there was a bakery already right next to them called the Eclipse Bakery. Right on, right on Grand Avenue, for example. And I got these from the Sanborn Maps, something I learned to look for from the podcast. So, yeah.
Mike: Yep. Yep. So, [00:06:00] so for about four years, Benjamin Gleezy, he's been across the street, but they must have it must have been a, you know, still a good relationship there. You know, it was not a big com, competitive thing cause when he died, Isidore Boudin is in a paper selling his bakery, his stuff, a horse with a harness, with a bakery wagon, and a bakery with all the, all the equipment. That went on to about 1887 and then Isidore died. And unfortunately, the Boudin family, everybody, almost everybody dies young. And he was 50 years. and his wife, she came, she came from France. She was born in 1852, so she was a bit younger than he was. He was 1836. She took over and she must have been an incredibly strong woman. And if you see pictures of her, both at the famous pictures that we have always had the bakeries and you could find those online. You see her, she looks tough. Looks tough, but she, you know, lost one daughter at two years old, another later at 15. Lost her husband and now she's got a bakery to run and support the family.
Nicole: Do you, do you think that original sourdough [00:07:00] culture, the mother was cursed?
Mike: That's good. I hope not. Good part of my family stayed alive, you know, for a good amount of time, so.
Nicole: Okay good, good.
Mike: You got a good point though. Well, Louise Boudin, Isidore's wife did live to 69. She died in 1921, so she was a Yeah, but on the yeah, it was a lot of death as we'll as we'll come to see in a second. So, she wants it, she not only keeps it going, she builds a business. And they had one oven there at the at the DuPont Street, and they grew out of that and moved to Broadway right before there was no tunnel there, but would be right before the tunnel right above Powell Street, right on the on the south side there. And that was formally called American Bakery. And they had two ovens in there. So again, from the Sanborn maps and, and so, they were growing and that's another picture that you'll see in the archives and stuff is them out in front of the bakery there. Now, they had a storefront. They were no longer in a back alley, which they were for, I mean, if you think about from 1849 to 1895. That's decades and decades. So, so they moved to [00:08:00] that. And, at that time, as the 1890s went on into the early 1900s, the two sons, Charles and Jules started becoming more involved in the bakery. And by 1900, Charles was the manager. Jules was the bookkeeper, like 19 or so. So, you know, they were you know, 26, 19 or 25 or so, and 19, when they started doing that. So, everything was, looked like it was doing well. And then I think there was something that happened in 1906 that was talked about on most of the podcasts.
Nicole: Oh gosh, can you refresh my memory? I can't remember what happened in 1906.
Mike: It can't put, it can't be a WNP podcast without discussing the San Francisco earthquake at one point or another. Right? Well, right there at, on Broadway comes the earthquake, and then of course the next day the fire hit there.
Mike: And they, the story was, you know, they, the corporate story was that Louise grabbed the mother dough, put it in a bucket and raced through the flames and all that kinda stuff. Well, the fire didn't hit there until the next day. Charles and Jules were old [00:09:00] running the place too, but they scooted out of there with the mother dough, cause that's everything for them, right? That's what defines them.
Mike: And yeah. And where'd they go? But kind of, you know, pioneer business of the Richmond District.
Mike: And in 1907 they opened up, at first it was called 387 10th Avenue, which now 399 10th Avenue. Right there on Geary and 10th Avenue, of course, it was Point Lobos and 10th Avenue at the time. And this is where we get into the important part for the podcast, is that part of the Outside Lands.
Mike: And kind of what my, I try to get across is that if you’re maybe six years old or younger, you would think of Boudin as Fisherman's Wharf tourist bread, or at the malls or here and there.
Mike: It really is rooted not only in San Francisco, old time San Francisco, but big time in the Richmond District. So now they're going big. Oh yeah, go ahead.
Nicole: I would say like, I honestly never thought about Boudin as being a legacy business because I had [00:10:00] only ever personally experienced them in malls, one in San Diego. And then, of course, in Stonestown. Boudin Bakery…
Nicole: Single-handedly kept me alive as a college student who didn't know what I cook for herself.
Mike: Correct. And those, they can be live for a long time too.
Mike: Good. Yeah. Paid for school, all sorts of things.
Nicole: And those photographs you've referenced a few times already now, listeners go to any Boudin that you can find, at literally any Boudin, it is like the biggest branding thing in any like retail location or restaurant. I never, I mean, me, a history, loving little gal. I never actually thought those were like real people.
Mike: Yeah, right.
Nicole: Of course. I was like, there's no way this is legit.
Mike: Yeah. It's a corporate thing and it's coming, you know, from where you came from your age and also from Southern California by the time we were down to Southern California, it became a corporate thing and you could see, and that, you could see where someone would see that right away. And I'll do hear that. Oh, that's a tourist bread. Well, no, it's actually the real thing, you know? And from the start. But we'll get to [00:11:00] why it went that way, please. That's part of the industry changing. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
Nicole: Totally. Please continue, Mike.
Mike: No problem. No problem. Oh, so yeah, so they set up shop at 10th Avenue. Now they're getting very large. They're, they've got three ovens. It's a, for those days it would now be considered a small bakery around that's time, that time about 4,000-4,500 square feet. That, that time, it’s considered a good size bakery. So, they set up shop there, and they're able to distribute. Now we're getting into horse, you know, not only horse wagons, now we're getting into vehicles and trucks and stuff that we can get farther away. So, they grow it quite a ways in and they're now living in the Richmond district on California Street. And Charles was on 10th for a while and just all, all right, all within walking distance of the bakery. In 1921, Louise, age 69. And then in 1925, Jules at only at age 40, he dies.
Mike: And one year later, Charles dies. So, then the thing was like, okay people asked, why didn't it stay in the family? Well, his son was only 14 years old at the time. [00:12:00] And a daughter, the daughter was a couple years older than that. And Charles had been, and Jule's didn't have any kids. So, Charles had got, had gotten divorced. He got married in 1909 and then divorced in 1918 to Elizabeth Palmeroy. And she, after that, got married to a man named Alvin Levi. And they took over, he took, Alvin Levi took over. I guess conservatorship would be the right word, I'm not sure, but took over the affairs for this minor, Paul Boudin. And they had, this guy had no idea about the bakery business and it's a, you know, it's a very specific business. So, they hired a guy who was a driver to be the manager. And we slowly took over. We got to get some, I saw some stuff where we had some stock holding in there. And one point Alvin was the president, but manager was a guy named Gabriel LeClerc. And I don't know if that, if the Boudin ownership stayed. I don't, I couldn't find anything on that through this whole period until my grandfather comes in. So that comes up with the, with [00:13:00] what saved the bakery, because at that time the bakery is now starting to go under.
Mike: Heavy debts, lots and lots of issues because it no longer had, family influence and, and, you know, that real drive that, that when it's been in the, at that point it'd been in the family, you know, what, 80 years, 90 years. So, in 1935, my grandfather comes in.
And step back, a little bit on him. He was born in San Francisco. Raised right across from Ghirardelli Square on Larkin Street and a few other places in there. And his story was really interesting because he, his dad came here in about 1903, went back, got married, had a couple of kids, came back with his wife back to San Francisco in 1912, of November. My grandfather was born in 1913 in September. But the, the important part of that is he was a U.S. citizen, cause he was born here. His brother and sister weren't, his parents weren't obviously. So, he lived here till he was seven years old and the family moved back to Italy, [00:14:00] back to the Piemonte area. Far north up and he lived there till he was about 13, or almost 14. And things were getting a little crazy in Italy at the time. And all he had was sixth grade, so he, that's all he went to was sixth grade. That was enough. So, he had to get a job, you know, the whole fascist thing was going on and he got out and he had, and went to France. And you imagine a 13-year-old kid picking up and going to France. There were some relatives in Toulouse, France that had a bakery. So, he apprenticed there from the time he was 13 until he was 21. And, you know, working crazy hours and all that. And learning, learning the craft.
Then comes around 1935 and things are really getting crazy in Europe. And he finds out that he's, because he's a U.S., that he clearly knows a U.S. citizen, but because he is a U.S. citizen, he can go back, he can go to the U.S. and get outta there. So, he did. So again, picks up at 21 years old. Shoots over here, goes to New York, gets on a train, comes right to San Francisco and goes to work as a baker at Boudin. [00:15:00] And because he had such experience there and they needed it really bad, he became head baker very quickly. So, he worked hard all through that, in the war. He even had to work at the shipyards at Hunter's Point for the war effort, cause he was important to be, you know, homeland important. So, he was working crazy. I mean, this is what gave me a lot of inspiration. Whenever I have a rough day at work, I, like I would never come that, you know, anywhere near. So, yeah. So, I always look back at that and it helps.
So, it gets worse for 'em. I want it worse, better in the end. But in 1945, the bakery's going under. It's gone. It's lost. And it's Gabriel LeClerc and it is just, it's just not happening anymore. The debt is overpowering. They're gonna have to close the doors. So, my grandfather gets together with the bookkeeper, says he needs somebody to do the books and they literally gave him a thousand dollars each. Which of course is a lot more than a thousand dollars now, and all the debts. So, they basically took it for all the debts.
Mike: And [00:16:00] then he started working really big time. Baking all night, delivery in the morning. And he had stories where, you know, you do home deliveries back in those days and you'd have a nail on the door and you stuck the bread on the nail.
Mike: On the door, you know, the milkman with the milk in the front. And I remember him telling me stories of, you know, the trucks that they had, they just leave 'em outta of gear on the hills and the compression. They'd slowly jumped down the hill and they'd walk back and forth with the truck going to each house that they were delivering to, and would time it just, right, that the truck would be there, you know, just running on compression, you know, so, so lots of great stories like that.
But I think back, you know, here it is 1945, he's taken this on. He's got one kid. My dad was born in 1940 and another kid on the way, my uncle Lou on the way. He just bought this bakery with a ton of debt. And then he bought a house in the Richmond district on 12th Avenue, you know, in 1946. So, I mean, yeah, he had a fire under him. He had a fire under him and he was [00:17:00] able to turn that around very quickly and get it going. And by the time my, you know, my dad and uncle, you know, were, would work summers, and when they were young, a lot of times they'd say if they wanted to go see my dad, I had to go down to the bakery cause he wasn't home enough. I mean, he would, I had people that I worked with say that he'd be working there and work at the bench also, hee'd be on his knees asleep. Just dropping or taking a quick nap on the sacks of flour, you know, whatever. You can get in while you could, if you had a few minutes.
Mike: So yeah, some crazy things like that. And so then, by 1960, my dad gets involved in the bakery. He graduated from St. Ignatius and did a few things in between. Thought he wanted to get out of the bakery business, got into it. Drove, he was, drove as a route driver and was vice president. So, it wasn't a big company.
Mike: My also went to…
Nicole: I identify with that.
Mike: Right. Right. My uncle went to USF, went to law school. So, he was able to bring in some of the legal aspects and, being a business lawyer, was able to, as the business grew, help a lot in that, in that regard. So, as we go through the ‘60s and ‘70s, [00:18:00] you know, the bakery was doing very well. Focusing mostly on, on wholesale, which is really where the money's at. The grocery stores, I delivered bread, so I know the grocery stores are a lot of work, you end up with a lot of stales. But he, they go mostly to the restaurants in that time, the deli's and did really well. But the bakery business was changing now in the ‘70s. You had to get big or get out.
Mike: And you had to. or change and get. Parisian Bakery became larger because they started merging. There were all these mergers that were happening. And now these 45,000, 50,000 square foot bakeries, 80,000 square foot bakeries are popping up, better equipment and all that. So, what they decided to do in 1975 was open up a retail bakery on Fisherman's Wharf. Completely different, you know, change, but bank on the history of it and the quality of the bread. And it was a big risk. It was a big financial risk to build that bakery down there. My dad had a lot of a lot of guys down there, the old timers down there saying, kid, you're gonna starve down here. You're, you can't make a living selling bread down here. [00:19:00] Well, it quickly became the world's largest dollar volume retail bakery in the world. And that's why you see it in, in everywhere.
So, they were able to change that so much that, in 1983, we merged with Parisian Bakery, Colombo Bakery and all those. And then later bought them out and took the wholesale business from Boudin, put that over to Parisian, for example, and just focused on the retail aspect of it. And that was a really good move. That was a very, very good move.
And some other thing moves we did that same time in the ‘70s, so there was a lot of activity going on at that time, is there's always been the rumor that you can't make good sourdough outside of San Francisco. And we've all heard that. And I can't say that my family hasn't pushed that rumor, cause everybody's gonna say don't try, don't, you know, don't bother trying. But in 1976, we said, why don't we do it in Chicago. And we had some partners that would say, okay, yeah, we'll, you know, we'll help finance and get some bakery the, you know, wholesale bakery plus retail going here. [00:20:00]
So, my grandfather went to United Food Kitchen for United Airlines at Chicago O'Hare. Let him use their bakery next. So, he went with 10 pounds of mother dough and flew out there and, you know, tried all the different things. He was gonna make an adjustment for water, for temperature, all those types of things, and was able to make it. So that was a big move. That was, that made the papers, because when we opened that up, we would have, look now we're gonna send the mother dough to Chicago for the first time. It's gonna leave San Francisco. You're gonna make a big deal outta it. Right. So a Brink's truck would show up at 10th Avenue. And they put it in a plexiglass box. You know, there we can see with a logo on it, which by the way, that plexiglass box is in my living room. It was holding dog toys up until recently. We got rid, we had too many dog toys. A little piece of history, our Christmas tree also sits on top of it too. But they would take this out of Brink's truck and it was insured for a million dollars and they'd take it to the airplane. My grandfather would meet it on the stairs. They'd put on the seat, and there was pictures of him in there having a glass [00:21:00] of wine and the mother dough, was sitting there.
Well, I asked my dad when I, you know, at one point when I was young and Dad, how much did it cost, insured for a million dollars? He goes, $500. What's gonna happen? What's gonna happen? But it was great, it was great marketing. It was really great marketing. And we did the same when we went to San Diego, which, when the ones that you were you were at. So, it was, it's really kind of fun, the history of that mother dough, you know, of all that culture that is in there. And so, we were able to build that retail side of it while we're also dealing with running, you know, what became San Francisco Bread Company.
And then, in 1990, then in ‘93 I think it was, they sold the company. We had some investors they wanted to get out and so, and for part of the growth, it was a tough time in the bakery business. And we sold the, all the Colombo, Parisian, Descana to Interstate Brands, which is Wonder Bread and Hostess. And Boudin went off to a company called Specialty Foods. It was kind of sad because now it's no longer in, in, in any type of family. It's just a corporate thing.
Mike: So luckily in 19, I would say it [00:22:00] was 2002, my uncle and his investment group bought it. And, as now my my cousin Danny is, is CEO of Boudin. So, it's back in the, it's back in the family again, which is good to see. You know, I don't work there anymore. I haven't spent in 30 years, but still part of me.
Nicole: You're not driving dough around?
Mike: No, no. I did plenty of that and it's plenty of at four o'clock in the morning. Yeah. I didn't go to any high school parties because I was working Saturday, Sundays. You know, even during the school we at, you know, driving bread around. Yeah. Yeah.
Nicole: And, that bakery you know, listeners, I'm sure you've driven by this bakery a million times and you haven't thought twice about it.
Nicole: But it's pretty distinct. You can see it from the road, right?
Mike: Right. Yes, exactly. It's right there, right there on the corner. At one point, Tippy's Bar was on the corner for a long time. And actually, where Tippy's Bar, I probably, there's probably a lot of listeners that remember Tippy’s. It was a, it was there at least until the ‘90s, I'd say. It was a real dive bar. But, what’s that?
Nicole: Tell us listeners if you've been to Tippy’s, [00:23:00] the story about Tippy’s.
Mike: Some may not wanna admit it, but yeah. It, it was quite the place, but actually that, one point, that was the store, the retail store was on the corner, and there's a famous picture from about 1930 that Ansel Adams took there. They took the inside of there and superimposed the neon sign that says Boudin that was on the corner at the time, well before our time. But then became the neon Tippy’s sign back in the day. So that's a cool one. And somewhere there's gotta be more pictures from Ansel Adams. I'm sure he didn't go in there and take one picture.
Nicole: It's true. Yeah. I mean, if listeners will remember, we recorded a podcast about Ansel Adams. He lived in the neighborhood. And we have a working theory here at WNP that the reason why he got into landscape photography is because he grew up near Lands End.
Nicole: Taking photographs of that extremely dramatic landscape there.
Nicole: But now I like to think of him wandering down Geary and just sidling up to Tippy’s [00:24:00] and…
Mike: Tippy’s was where that…
Nicole: I mean a bread bowl of clam chowder and a Boudin bread bowl.
Mike: Yeah, he was apparently hired by Boudin and that time it would've been Gabriel LeClerk running it cause it, I saw one thing that said 1928, another one, 1931. So, let's call it like that. It still would've been before my grandfather even started working there. And, and they hired a young photographer, as they called it, you know, to come in there. And he was, you know, just up and coming cause I think he would've been, you know, 25 or something like that at the time.
Nicole: Yeah. I love it. Let's give this young kid up the street some work. I think that.
Mike: Exactly, Yeah. I wanna see all those other ones. Yeah. But it's a historic building. It really is. I was just thinking the other day there, there's a set of old wooden stairs that come from the mixing room down to where the divider is and the intermediate proofer that I remember as a little kid walking with my dad there and really steep, they're treacherous. You know, there was before any type of building codes, OSHA and the rest. And you know, hold on, hold on to this. So, even when I was working there baking, I'd always had that in my head. But now I think of it, those same stairs. Louise Boudin probably walked up and down. And I know Charles and Jules did. And these [00:25:00] are, they're not my family, but it seems like they are just, especially now just researching it so much.
Nicole: Oh yeah. I don't have the business connection like you, like you do with the Boudins, but I mean, when I research what, whomever I'm researching whatever subject is on my plate that day, I get really emotionally invested with them. Because what we're doing is like a little creepy, right?
Mike: It is.
Nicole: We're like digging through everyone's dirty laundry.
Mike: Exactly. Exactly. And there's so many, when you come up with more questions, you know, whether it's good or bad, it's really what God, I wish they were, I could have five minutes with 'em to ask, so, you know, some of the questions, some of the minutia that maybe it wouldn't be good for the podcast here, but just for myself, you know? Cause I, there's all these little things. Yeah. There's a ton of questions I have. Yeah. You know, I've pushed for my dad and grandfather and they're gone too. And even though I got a lot of stories, but there's other things I want to ask, but. that's gone. So, they say always ask those things before they're gone. But yeah, you don't think of that at the time. Yeah.
Nicole: It's true. But I mean, what you're finding too is there's always these competing layers. There's what we remember and then there's like the [00:26:00] family lore. What like feels good to like pass down from generation to generation.
Nicole: But for you, that's also all mixed up in a corporation and its brand.
Nicole: And all that kinda stuff. So, there's so many different priorities and points of view for your personal.
Mike: And you gotta simplify it. I mean, to simplify most of the stuff that you see, that we've seen over the years and I always heard, but every time it was a news story or whatever, it was pretty simple. Isidore Boudin started it, which he didn't, in 1849, we think it's before 1852. And that my grandfather bought it from the Boudin family, or some say bought it from the from Louise Boudin, you know, from Isidore’s wife. No, she had already been gone, you know, 20 years before that. But the weird thing I did find was, like I say with that, with the Boudin family, possibly still involved in it, at least in, at the very beginning, after Charles died, the first, at least 3, 4, 5 years, I, he may have actually bought it technically from the Boudin family. Yeah. So, but that part. So all these little things, all these little small minutia things that your podcast listeners don't care about. I found was interesting.
Nicole: Maybe. I mean, [00:27:00] you never know, right?
Mike: Yeah, right.
Nicole: And we get into a lot, you listened to all 400 episodes. We get to into a lot more minutia these days.
Mike: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. There can be quite a bit. Yes. Sometimes. Sometimes I need to take notes. Today I'm driving, so I can't.
Nicole: Well, I am wondering, did and maybe you, maybe I missed it and I'm sorry if I did, they build structures in the Richmond district or did they purchase existing real estate out here?
Mike: That the, the building there, it's kind, I was kind of digging that up. The building there was not all bakery at the time and originally it was 387 and that was kind of something I also found out from the Sanborn maps actually.
Mike: Cause one of 'em was it was always 387 and then later it was 399. But a lot of times that's not unusual. Numbers change.
Mike: Because even where they were on DuPont in the early, early 1850s, was 339 instead of 14th. They moved numbers route or 338 or something. But, and the same thing when they were on Broadway, they were 815 and then towards the end, before the earthquake, was 825. Well, I'm sure they didn't move the bakery. Moving brick ovens is a little hard. [00:28:00] So, yeah. So, but there's some number changes. But then when I looked at it on the Sanborn maps and the, from the ‘20s, the whole front of the Geary Street side were shops. There was a restaurant, took a couple restaurants or a restaurant, a couple shops right there. So, you could still see it. If you drive down Geary Street and you look on the Geary Street side, you could see where the shops were and the doors were and everything, and you could see that. And they took that over, but I don't, we didn't only, we rented that the entire time.
Mike: And I still rented that, I'm sure. In fact, and I looked at that. The weird thing is I looked it up on the assessors and it said the building was built in 1932. So, but that could be, again, something, you know, maybe they did a big change or something, but or it could be wrong as, you know, going through some of this stuff, there's things that's just not right.
Mike: But looking at the houses next to there, I mean, they didn't build the bakery or bakery wasn't there, you know, by itself you know, in a field. Cause the house is on that block where 1901 in that [00:29:00] range.
Mike: Right. So, what was there if there was even a bakery there before? I don't know.
Nicole: Yeah, I mean, they've been the, a toll road. This was one of the most, the busiest thoroughfares on the west side. This was the main connection to downtown at the time. And it's not still a big industrial bakery today, right? It's pretty much closed for operations.
Mike: Yeah, they’re, they moved most of all the stuff to, to, to Fishman's Wharf and a few other, other production areas I believe. And they're just using that now. Fernando Padilla, who's the head baker who trained under, under my grandfather, and he's been the head baker for decades. I understand when he's doing some test baking, he'll sometimes, sometimes use, he'll go in there and do it. That's my understanding. So, I don't know what they're gonna end up doing with it. I hate to see it not baking every day. But, but yeah, it's, but it's pretty interesting to me. Like you say about being a toll road, I found a, in the want ads or lost and found, they, it said the horse, straight horse, you know, they gave the description of a white foot returned to, at that time it was called Boudin Brothers Bakery, successors for Israel Boudin, 10th and Point Lobos, and that was [00:30:00] 1907-1908. It was pretty good. Which one thing to note I didn't note was, again, it was called French Bakery all the way up until the earthquake. Then once Jules and Charles took over, it was called Boudin Brothers. Then, of course, once they passed away, it became Boudin Bakery and yeah.
Nicole: Can you imagine a loose horse just wandering around Geary Street today?
Mike: I'm sure it hap, you're thinking everybody had, it had to happen all the time. I also saw, well, that one guy hit by a streetcar and they were suing the city.
Mike: For that one, the horse, I think they just said destroyed the horse and it screwed up the, the wagon. Yeah. Yeah. There's some fun stuff that, that when you start searching around new newspapers.com, you know, and all the other things. Yeah. Yeah.
Nicole: There are so many things that, I'll be researching something else, and there'll be some insane article and I'll just like…
Mike: Start following that.
Nicole: Later, I'm like, okay, this has nothing to do with anything. We have actually created a section in our podcast called Say What Now, specifically to pull in some of the nonsense.
Mike: Yeah, right. I remember that. Yes. Yes. Yeah. [00:31:00] Always a lot of nonsense. Yeah. I spent many late nights staying up way past my bedtime, cause I started finding stuff and then waking my wife up, saying guess what I found.
Nicole: I know, my poor, long suffering boyfriend is always like, oh great. Like there's a lost cat in 1903 and it's named Sneakers.
Mike: Exactly. There's, well, I actually found a whole article about Charles and Iabel’s divorce.
Mike: And that scandal…
Nicole: Ooh, scandal. Scandal. I love a good divorce scandal, Mike.
Mike: Yeah. Big divorce scandal that had it from grounds of cruelty. So, and, but what they said was that, they were living on 10th Avenue by Lake and they said they said that they were having people over for dinner and he got up. And it caused her great mental anguish. It had to be more than that. I would love to see the transcripts. There's gotta be, you know, the papers that day couldn't move all the details. There's gotta be more than that, but, but it was pretty interesting.
Nicole: One of my, like, I shall write this book when [00:32:00] I retire projects is, this one circuit court judge named Judge Coffey, c-o-f-f-e-y. And he was in charge of all of the divorce cases that came across, you know, in, I forget what type of court it was, but, cause I'm not a lawyer, but he's the one whose name is cited in every single like, scandalous, horrible society, divorce, and he's a jerk.
Nicole: He's not very nice to women. So, if you were like an independent lady trying to allege that your husband's a jerk for getting up at the dinner table, he'd be like, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mike: Right, right, right. Yeah. Yeah.
Nicole: But he's on my list. There's more to that Judge Coffey story and the scandalous divorces.
Mike: Yeah. Just like, there's gotta be more than this. Even then, I don't think he can get away with, call it cruelty. I got up and left, you know? Yeah. In the middle of a dinner. Yeah.
Nicole: And we're a little off topic now, but…
Mike: Yes, we are.
Nicole: But Mike, thank you so much. Listeners, now you know that because of the 1906 earthquake.
Nicole: We can claim Boudin Bakery as one [00:33:00] of our own here in the Western neighborhoods.
Mike: That’s correct. Yes.
Nicole: And Mike, thank you so much for this. Extremely fun.
Mike: Thank you.
Nicole: Now it's time for our Barbara Walter's Memorial Q&A section, because…
Nicole: She passed away. And I hope all of our listeners know who Barbara Walters is. I don't think…
Mike: Oh, Baba Wawa.
Nicole: Baba Wawa. Exactly.
Mike: We can date ourselves on that one too. But yeah.
Nicole: It all dates us. It all dates us.
Nicole: But, okay, so here we go. Drum roll please. Number one. Mike, in your opinion, what is the best burrito in San Francisco?
Mike: I wish I could say I've tried 'em all, especially all the ones you hear are so great to have in Mission, Mission District. I haven't had a burrito down there in I don't know how long. But one of my favorite ones in the city, and hopefully it's still good, is Chinos, which is not far from you where your office is, right. My, when my wife and I were dating way back in the long, [00:34:00] early ‘90s, she was living on 40th and Fulton, so that was kind of our area to hang out. You know, the Zephyr Cafe, we go to the Balboa Theater. So, we've actually talked recently and said, you know, we need to find a movie we wanna see at Balboa, go to Chinos and have a burrito. And the Zephyr's gone, but Simple Pleasure is still there, so, yeah.
Mike: So true then. Good spicy. I like their spicy chicken. Yeah. good.
Nicole: Yeah. Did Arnold Woods pay you to say that? Because that's his favorite?
Mike: Well, is it? Okay. No, I mean, again, I've been to a lot of burrito places all over the place. I'm driving, but not in, you know, some of the ones you always hear about Mission Street that you have to have.
Mike: That's a, yeah, a go to.
Nicole: No, it's way to keep it on the west side, Mike. I respect that.
Mike: There you go. Yeah. Yeah.
Nicole: Number two, where can you get the best slice of pizza, pizza in the city?
Mike: Well, that's gotta be my house cause I make, not only do I make sourdough bread at home, but I make sourdough pizza. So that's gotta be it. But though I'm in Pacifica, so I'm not in San Francisco. I can't really count that.
Mike: God, for pizza, that was a tough one. Yeah, [00:35:00] I can't think of one. I mean, I understand Tony's North Beach.
Mike: Is really good. But my favorite favorite pizza overall is not in San Francisco. It's up in Kingston, Washington. And it's called Sourdough Willy's. And he uses a, a mother dough from the Klondike era. And it's been through his family forever. And it's, the crust is unbelievable. And it's so funny, we were up there and my wife is eating the crust and she normally doesn't eat the crust cause they're all the goodies, they the crust for, you know, and she's eating all the crust. And she told them, I said, well said I, I never eat the crust. The next day she gets a full piece of pizza out. She eats the pizza and then she walks away back to the kitchen with the crust. I go, you're not eating it? She goes, oh no, I'm gonna cut it open and put some salami in there. This is too good. So, Kingston, Washington, sorry. Yeah. But again, you know, I haven't tried a whole ton of places, you know, in, in San Francisco for pizza.
Nicole: It’s okay.
Mike: I mean, myself.
Nicole: Of course, you like the sourdough pizza. I mean that makes complete sense.
Nicole: And I would imagine your wife would have to like sourdough [00:36:00] otherwise, what is she doing?
Mike: Oh yeah, she, you know, the funny thing is, we were dating she, one time I asked her, she had some bread, I go, how old's that bread? She goes, I, we bought it the other day, you know, a couple days ago. Oh gross. I never had day old bread. We fed it to the buffalo in the park. You know, day old that was over because we didn't pay for bread. Of course, you know, when I first I ever had to pay for bread, it's like paying to breathe oxygen, you know, just, it's just not right.
Nicole: I'm sorry, you said you fed it to the buffalo?
Nicole: In Golden Gate Park?
Mike: Yeah. And back in those days, now it's a double fence, but my mom would take us there and we'd feed, my sister and I would feed them through the fence. They're really gentle, you know? But we're in pictures all over the world. Cause the tourists are taking pictures of these little kids feeding stale bread to the buffalo. You know these huge buffalo we're like four years old and you, yeah.
Nicole: That can't be on their approved dietary list.
Mike: No, it's cause those are the same, those are the same times, my, you know, we, you could feed the animals in the zoo. So, my dad would bring a whole bag of stale bread and feed 'em to the hippos, the hippo, they'll, just a loaf at a time, right in the mouth, they’ll open them up. No, it's not on the diet. Of course not. No. [00:37:00] It's so funny when we think about that what the ‘70s were like, you know. My God, you couldn't do that now. But those are the days of Monkey Island too.
Nicole: It's true. Have you ever seen that movie About a Boy with Hugh Grant?
Mike: No. No, I don't think so. No.
Nicole: It’s, it's a great movie. It has nothing to do with anything except that this kid like throws a loaf of bread, a day-old loaf of bread at a duck and kills it and…
Mike: We may have, we may or may not, cannot confirm, nor deny that, that we did that.
Nicole: So, don't feed weird things to animals in the zoo.
Nicole: Or the buffalo saying you've heard it on a WNP podcast.
Mike: Exactly. That's right. That's right. Yeah. I'm hoping the statute of limitations is over for me.
Nicole: Okay, so let's keep moving through our Barbara Walters quiz. Number three. Do you, where do you take tourists when they're in town?
Mike: Sure. And this is probably not gonna be the most popular, but I, you've gotta go to Fisherman's Wharf. Gotta go to Fisherman's Wharf. And one of the reasons, [00:38:00] yeah, it's touristy. It's like Main Street, Disneyland. But I was lucky enough to see Fisherman's Wharf before nine o'clock in the morning.
Mike: A lot. Especially when I was delivery for Parisian. I'd be there at four or five in the morning, and it's a real wharf. So, you know, you're not buying the t, you don't take them to buy the T-shirts there. You know, you take 'em over to the fishing docks, you know, and look at the old and tell the history there when it was, you know, we even talked about back when it was Meggs Wharf and that whole scandal, you know, and Megg taking off to South America and the rest of that. But there's a lot of, a lot of history right there. And of course, Lands End. You know, Cliff House and those areas. You can't go wrong. Yeah, we have a lot. We have a lot. We said a lot in San Francisco to see.
Nicole: Yeah, I’m just picturing you walking along Fisherman's Wharf and being like, oh gee, look, it's Boudin.
Mike: Yeah, Yeah. And some of them, they have my picture in there too. From a long time ago, I had hair. You know, it was a lot of skinnier. In fact, the one in Disneyland under, you know, California Adventure. A friend, every time a friend goes in, they take a picture in front of the [00:39:00] picture. We're all standing in front of the bakery and I'm in there, my dad, my grandfather, and my cousin and all sorts of things. And this, yeah, I was like 23 years old then.
Nicole: Love it.
Nicole: I mean, there's, this is not San Francisco related, but there's a bar in L.A. that has a portrait of my grandfather hanging in it.
Mike: Oh, cool. Very cool.
Nicole: And I've definitely dragged a bunch of museum professionals there on a conference. I was like, come on out to my grandpa's bar. Like dragged him out of like a conference event. And we all went there like the evening and they were like, oh, it's a crappy bar.
Mike: Well, I got a funny one on that. I don't wanna make this look too, you know, record longest podcast we ever had. But, I was working one of my first jobs at 14 or 15. I have a janitor at the Boudin on Drumm Street. There was one, there's actually, there's a 7-Eleven there now, right across from the Hyatt Regency there. And it's after lunch rush, the weekday, and I'm cleaning up and there's two old ladies sitting there having coffee and a pastry or whatever there. And there's a picture of my grandfather there. And they look over at me and they jokingly go, I bet you that's your grandfather. I said, yes it is. Yes it is. [00:40:00]
Mike: It was pretty funny. Yeah. Yeah.
Nicole: You’re not truly a San Francisco legend until something like that happens to you. So, Mike is a San Francisco legend listeners.
Mike: Sometimes a legend in my own mind.
Nicole: Yeah, alright, moving right along. Number four, what's one thing you would bring back here in San Francisco if you could?
Mike: Wow. Yeah, I was thinking about that one. Let's see. One thing to bring back, well, I wanna bring back my dad and grandfather, having so many questions for them. But wow, what could we bring back? I mean, the ice-skating rink. Spent a lot of time there on the 48th Avenue. In fact, that was one of the first podcasts I listened to awhile back. I saw, it came up on something. Oh, I gotta listen to that and, you know, that was, you know, that was a cool place. Well, there's all these little places like that that, that have come and gone. Yeah. It's still, there's still a lot in the city. Still is a lot in the city. Especially on the, you know, outside. I mean, look what's going on with the Sunset, Outer [00:41:00] Sunset, you know, I mean, Taraval, Judah, Noriega. It was wasteland before. Nobody went there. A couple dive bars. That was it. Oh my God, it’s hip. I'm afraid to go there. Like, you know, priced outta of there.
Nicole: Yeah, we're hopping out here now. I moved to the Outer Sunset like 11 years ago, 12 years ago. And there was nothing out here.
Mike: Nothing, yeah.
Nicole: Very slowly everything has popped up around me and I was like, yes.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. It's really, it's surprising. We, you know, growing up there since 1969. It was just, yeah, it was just out, you know, talking about outer lands. That one was really outer lands that was in Outer Sunset and that was still outer lands down there.
Mike: So yeah.
Nicole: It’s still got that, like…
Mike: There's a lot there. Yeah.
Nicole: It's still got that like, kind of, we're in the outer land surf zone, but, but I like your recommendation. We need an ice-skating rink on the west side. Like…
Mike: Yeah, that was, we spent a lot of nights there and there was something about the smell of it. And there's something about walking out on a 55-degree foggy day and it's feeling hot or warm. On the ice for hours. Yeah. Yeah.
Nicole: So true.
Mike: That was, [00:42:00] it was a fun thing for kids to do, you know.
Nicole: It's true. All right, this is your fifth and final question, and it's a doozy. Do you think history is important?
Mike: That's, that’s a good question. I, you know, I'm, I've always been in interested in history. So, I think one of it is, you gotta know what, you gotta understand where you are from, how, where you came from, and also where you're gonna go. You know, because it may have already been done before, you know? Or you can learn from those mistakes. We all know this famous, the famous saying, you know, you know, the history, what a big mistake, what is it now with mistakes.
Mike: You know, that what I'm talking about. I can't recall it. It just blank out. But yeah.
Mike: There's, yeah. The, you learn from history or you repeat it. Yeah. So, yeah, that's it's I think it's important. It's also kind of really rewarding, you know, but it's also, in a way, it's, to me, we're doing this research and stuff. It's almost a little kind of sad is that, I wanna go back in time. I wanna walk down DuPont Street, you know. [00:43:00] I wanna walk down Broadway. I wanna see 10th Avenue, the 10th Avenue Bakery, more pictures of it. You know, so if anybody has 'em, let me know. I've got some, I've got one with my dad and uncle all, and all the drivers of their trucks out in front in 1966. Love that picture. It's in my hallway. I got all Boudin stuff in the hallway. Got the famous pictures we were talking about, the old ones, the DuPont Street, such, all in my hallway. And, and it's yeah, I wanna, you know, I wanna experience, I wanna be able to see, actually go there. So, it's, it kind gives you a little bit of a letdown because you learn these things, but you can't go and experience them, you know? But…
Nicole: That's really true.
Mike: It gives you a piece of it. So, yeah.
Nicole: It’s true. I think that's why I like period dramas, you know? Cause like I can, you kind of get a taste of what the, ye olden times would've been like.
Mike: Right, right, right. Exactly. Yep.
Nicole: Yeah. Well, okay, that brings us to the end of the podcast section of the podcast. Mike, you're welcome to hang out while we were listen…
Mike: Might as well hang.
Nicole: Amazing. All right. Now, because I'm solo [00:44:00] today without my co-host, this means that listeners just get to hear me read a whole bunch of stuff for a really long time. So here we go.
First up, we have a listener mail. And we actually have a podcast request from esteemed authors and WNP members, Richard Brandi and Kathleen Beitiks. Richard was asking if we would have them on to, to host a podcast about Westside Writers on future episodes. And I'm totally here for it. This is a fabulous idea, Richard. It's also very convenient that we sell books by both of these off authors in the Outside Lands store. So, you know, not that this is a blatant marketing push to buy things through WNP, but it can't hurt, right? So, you know what? If you have ideas for future episodes or, like you're listening to this and something came to mind while listening to the [00:45:00] episode, or you're like, yeah, I have a whole shoebox full of photographs of the Boudin Bakery on 10th and, like, drop us a line. You can email us email@example.com or, you know, we're on all the social media. So, you can send a message on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. If you go to any of those, one of us will be listening. So that's outsidelands with a Z on Twitter and Instagram and OpenSFHistory on both as well. And just Western Neighborhoods Project on Facebook.
And while we're at it, I think I'm gonna let y'all know the benefits of membership and donating. So, we talk about it every podcast and many of you email me afterwards and say, you finally wore me down after hundreds of episodes of the podcast, I joined and became a member. And when I did that, I now get the quarterly membership magazine, plus [00:46:00] discounts on events and other exclusive perks. And yes, that's the hard sell for becoming a member. You know, it really does help us to have this kind of consistent annual support. You can send us one check a year. Send us one donation a year, or you can sign yourself up per, for recurring monthly membership dues. That means you set it and forget it, right? You just set it one day and then every month that money comes out of your bank account like clockwork. And who can't afford $5 a month to support your local history nonprofit.
This helps us do all the work. We've got OpenSFHistory, which is thousands of historic photographs online for your viewing pleasure. The Cliff House collection, which isn't in the news anymore, but is still extremely hard to take care of cause, remember listeners, we bought a totem pole that just sits outside the Cliff House. And, of course, this podcast, which we try to record as weekly as possible, and we do totally for free. We don't charge for content or [00:47:00] very rarely do we do. So please support us and help us get started in 2023 the right way.
And this is a great segue into announcements! So, what's going on with WNP in 2023 you might be wondering. Cause we don't have any public programs. Remember we're on this new public program schedule where things really start happening in March and we're slowly but surely getting the chaos of our clubhouse on Balboa settled down. So, we, we brought all of the Cliff House collection from the Cliff House into our tiny space on Balboa, and that has, well, it's been quite a Tetris scramble. We've completely reorganized the layout and we're working really hard on that. But we should be up and running again, open to the public in February.
And part of this process is we're getting OpenSFHistory digitization back on track. And our dear friend Chrissy [00:48:00] Huhn, who we've featured in many of our exhibitions, she's an incredible local photographer. Her 9-5 job is as UC Berkeley's Imaging Services team lead. So, she's setting up our entire workstation and like digitization workflow. She's incredible. We're so grateful.
And also, one of our favorite Sunset district artists, Thomas Beutel, is helping us restore the cutest miniature, but actually quite large model home of a classic Richmond District house. There's more to come on that. Fingers crossed we can get funding to actually move forward with substantive restoration that needs to happen. But one of our members donated this to us. She grew up in the home and she built it and it has little, tiny cats. And a beautiful pink bathroom. Anything you can imagine. So, we're working on that right now.
Also get ready, our former student intern and brand-new board member [00:49:00] Lindsey Hanson, is hard at work curating a window exhibition on the windmills of Golden Gate Park, and I'm putting the finishing touches on the first of four rotating OpenSFHistory shows inspired by Ansel Adams, which will just have a soup theme now. A Boudin soup theme, So look for all those to debut in February. And fresh off the presses. I'm also curating a Richmond District history display for Andytown's newest location at 800 Great Highway. So, just cause we aren't out and about in the public doesn't mean we're hard at work.
And speaking of our public program calendar, I've got some sneak peeks for y'all. So, tons of John Martini and Richard Brandi history walks because you asked and you shall receive. We've got collaborations on events with friends like Manny's in the Mission, Fort Point Beer Company, and the Global Museum at SF State. We're also participating in several conferences this [00:50:00] year hosted by the California Association of Museums in October and, or I'm sorry, in March, in Oakland and the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
And something I'm really excited about that we're debuting this year in October, Shipwreck Week. And it's gonna be modeled on Shark Week, but with shipwrecks. We're very excited. We're just starting to plan that too. So if you aren't on our mailing list already, be sure to sign up for our monthly email newsletter. You can go to outsidelands.org to become a WNP Insider today. Cause we dropped stuff in there that the general public can't have access to yet.
And speaking of emails, be on the lookout for an imminent audience survey. And, I know, this sounds really boring, and you're like, oh man, there's gonna be another email asking me to do something else. But it really will only take a few minutes of your time, and it really, really, really helps us to know who you [00:51:00] are, what you like, and what we can do to improve so we can continue to do bigger and better things together. And the data that we get from surveys like that helps us to explain who we are to granting organizations that will give us money too. So this isn't the fun part of what we do, but it is very valuable for us and to sweeten the pot, everyone who completes the survey will have a chance to receive one free year of WNP membership. Which is worth at least $50. So, I'm gonna say one more giant thank you to Mike for joining us today. Thank you, Mike!
Mike: Thank you. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you.
Nicole: Stop by anytime you research another family history about a sourdough business,
Mike: Probably do that.
Nicole: And listeners, you should know that Mike just emailed us and said, hey, I've got a podcast idea for you. And here he is. So, it really is that simple. It wasn't that quick, but it is that simple. [00:52:00]
Mike: Okay I need to do a lot more research. I was, yeah, then I think I did too much.
Nicole: No, no such thing. No such thing as too much research. So, thank you again, Mike. This was a real blast.
Mike: Thank you. Thank you.
Nicole: And our preview for next week. Remember that San Francisco State strike podcast that we ended the last year with and we were like, oh, tune in next week for the, for part two. Well, I'm finally feeling better and ready to record that podcast, I think hopefully next week. So, it'll be coming up as soon as we can record it. So, stay tuned and thank you for being with us Outside Landers. Bye Mike.
Ian: Outside Lands San Francisco is recorded by Ian Hadley. Content creation and media production at ihadley.com.
Nicole: To learn more about the Western Neighborhoods Project and more on San Francisco history, go to Outsidelands.org. You can also find us on social media at [00:53:00] Facebook, which is outsidelands with an S, at Twitter, which is outsidelandz with a Z, and on Instagram, which is outsidelandz, also with a Z. And check out our historic San Francisco images website at OpenSFHistory.org.