STOCKTON – Try finding an old fashioned deli sandwich?
In today’s world of Subway, Togo’s, and Quiznos franchises, Genova Bakery is one of those hidden gems tucked away in a once proud neighborhood.
As one of the locals, Janae Hunt enjoys the Old World flavors of her sandwich. “You can actually taste the meat and even the olive oil,” she said on Thursday afternoon.
Her mother was regular customer here while she recently discovered this long-time Stockton establishment.
Genova Bakery embodies the definition of a mom-and-pop operation. “Of or being a small business that is typically owned and run by members of a family,” according to the free dictionary, an online site.
In 1918, the brothers, Giovanni and Angelo Rolleri, founded the bakery along with their brother-in-law G.B. Dentoni, who was the third partner. The original owners came to Stockton from Genoa, Italy.
Genova Bakery is still at its original location at the corner of North Sierra Nevada and East Flora streets. Most of the homes on this tree-lined neighborhood are secured by burglar bars on the windows. Yet the locals are hardly fazed.
Very few places remain like Genova Bakery, where specialized groceries and blocks of home-cook meats have been a staple here for decades. Some of the old timers occasionally drop in, echoing the past by speaking Italian.
While the bread may be the main attraction – Genova bread is featured at many restaurants, supermarkets, and sandwich shops – it’s the deli counter that brings folks back to the old neighborhood.
“People order a little bit of everything,” said Martha, who has been working behind the counter for the past few months.
For less than $5, they can get a sandwich with a choice of meat – try prosciutto, pastrami, roast beef, or turkey either smoked or pepper – along with any one variety of cheese (Jack, cheddar, Swiss, provolone, mozzarella, Fontina, and even Buffalo Wild Cheddar) and bread.
The breads are baked fresh daily and includes French, milk, Ciabatta, Dutch crunch, Focaccia, sourdough and multigrain.
Tim Canevari has been the owner of Genova Bakery since 2004. He’s managed to keep the lunch prices down on his deli sandwiches in order to take care of his customers. They’ve been the lifeblood here for nearly a century.
In 1985, this bakery and store was named a historical landmark by the city.
“This bakery and store, a link to the old country, reflect the industry and perseverance of Italian immigrants who significantly contributed to the enrichment and development of Stockton,” said the plaque posted above the entrance.
Genova Bakery continues to stand the test of time.
– VINCE REMBULAT