La Victoria Bakery and Kitchen, the 67-year-old panaderia on 24th Street, may not be around much longer. Socketsite reports that the building that houses it is up for sale with a listed price of $3.4 million. In realtor-ese, it’s “an ideal mixed-use rental or condominium redevelopment,” which sounds as though the corner lot at Harrison and 24th streets is explicitly being marketed as a tear-down.
Perhaps more ominously, two of the three rental apartments above La Victoria — along with ground-floor tenants Texi’s Jewelry and Geminis Barber Shop — are vacant.
The storied Mexican bakery has been at that site since 1955 when founder Gabriel Maldonado moved it there from its original location across the street. It was one of the first businesses to cater to what was then a growing Mexican-American and Latino population in an Irish-Italian neighborhood. In 1963, Maldonado opened the kitchen to other small purveyors of baked goods, such as today’s Sour Flour. So it’s more of a collective than a single business, and its loss would ripple throughout the community, far beyond mere fans of alfajores, wedding cookies, and savory empanadas.
As storied of an institution as its sweet-tasting pan de muerto might be around the Day of the Dead, Mission Local revealed that the treats’ popularity contains a bit of mystery. Bakers as recently as 1975 weren’t familiar with it at all, partially because many families in that era were encouraged to suppress their cultural roots and assimilate.
In late 2016, current owner Jaime Maldonado applied for a Type 47 liquor license in order to build out a new bistro that was to be called Santo at La Victoria. It was an effort to stay modern in an evolving neighborhood, although the intent was to keep prices affordable and the vibe authentic. As Maldonado told Inside Scoop, “We’re not a caricature of Mexico. We really are Mexicans. So we want it to be an authentic Mexican place that looks like it belongs in what is the new Mexico that exists now.
The project does not seem to have materialized, however. SF Weekly has reached out to La Victoria for comment and we will update with further information as it becomes available.
La Victoria Bakery and Kitchen, 2937 24th St., 415-642-7120 or lavictoriabakery.com