A new Italian grocery and deli, is seeking Planning approval today to move into a retail space at 728 Vallejo Street in North Beach. This is the aforementioned deli project that had been hinted at by Don Pisto’s Pete Mrabe, but the investor behind it is Giovanni Toracca, longtime neighborhood fixture, co-owner of Sotto Mare and owner of Grant & Green Saloon. (Sidebar: Toracca may or may not have had past ties to the San Francisco Mafia, such as it is, but was only ever prosecuted for failing to file a tax return in the nineties, to which he pleaded guilty.) Toracca’s been working on the deli project for the last several years, and he wants not only to offer standards like cured meats and fine olive oils, but also a fresh dough program selling pizza dough, bread dough, unleavened flatbread dough, and, of course, fresh pasta.
Also, there will be hot and cold sandwiches, and Toracca hopes to bring a sense of old-fashioned neighborhood connectedness.
It’s unclear how much of the food program will be overseen by Mrabe.
Toracca writes, "Growing up in San Francisco I remember the local butcher giving my mom a recipe with the meat she bought, and the produce man being able to explain where his products came from. I feel that this is slowly going away… Hopefully I can bring my vision into this space and North Beach can enjoy it."
The Planning Department is recommending the project for approval, and as always, we’ll alert you when we know more.
Update: The project got its approval, but it’s no longer called Lago Marsino. The name will be Central Station, after the police station next door. Opening around March or April, 2013.
* This post has been corrected to show that the name of the new business will be Central Station, not Lago Marsino, and that Toracca is a co-owner of Sotto Mare, not sole owner.