Sad news for fans of one of the cornerstone businesses of Oakland's Temescal neighborhood: Genova Delicatessen is packing it in and closing up shop later this week, on April 30. The Italian deli is, as the Mercury-News tells it, one of the last reminders of Temescal's long-ago identity as an Italian-American enclave, and the same family, the DeVincenzis, have been running it for four generations.
The reason for the closure, they say, is both a lease negotiation with the landlord that couldn't be resolved, and the rising cost of utilities and doing business in general. "We've always felt the prices should be reasonable and the food really good quality which we have been able to manage," says Patti DeVincenzi, "but the cost of doing business is to the point now where it became uncomfortable." Faced with having to raise prices across the board, they decided they'd rather close and focus on their Napa shop, on Trancas Street. Another branch of the family also has two Genova Deli locations in Walnut Creek.
Eater notes that the family will also continue to run their Oakland production facility for the Genova brand pastas and sauces.
It's a sad end for everyone who relied on their frozen lasagnes and ravioli, and the house-made wine, deli meats, sourdough French bread, sandwiches, and Italian pantry staples. Though the location in Temescal Plaza near 51st and Telegraph was not the original that opened in 1926, Genova Deli has been a continual part of the neighborhood this last century and will surely be missed.
The property owner, though, says they're currently hoping to find a new deli operator that will reopen a deli business there, and hopefully re-employ the 20 or so employees who will be out of work when Genova closes.