If you have lived in the Mission District during the last 20 years, it’s almost guaranteed that your birthday cake was bought from Dianda’s Italian-American Bakery.
That is, if your family actually loves you.
A solid San Francisco institution since 1962, the Mission Street bakery celebrates their 50th Anniversary on Saturday from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Passionately feeding the masses with deliciously sweet delights, the bakery will be handing out complimentary coffee to rinse down their incredible cream puffs lovingly filled with their infamous rum custard.
Understanding familial, staff and customer loyalties, the story begins with Elio Dianda from Lucca, Italy who opened this bakery 50 years ago with his wife, Enrica.
Pasquale is one of the Dianda sons who inherited the bakery in 1962, along with his brothers, Armando and Floriano.
Having endured long hours working at the bakery in assembly-line and various operations, Pasquale finally decided to sell the business to none other than his long-time bakery sidekicks, Sergio Flores, Luis Jose Peña and Floyd Goldberg. He still comes around on Wednesdays and Thursdays to help with wedding cakes.
Each union employee understands the importance of passion, teamwork and their individual contribution to the enterprise. With his audible Brooklyn, NY accent, part-owner/baker Goldberg smiled and said:
“I came to the Bay Area when I was 21 years old. Back in 1979, I started my career in the food and hospitality business working for Narsai David. He had a restaurant in Berkeley and I learned alot.
Here at Dianda’s, I work with a great team. From my business partners, Sergio and Luis, and the rest of the team, we produce a great product.”
Sergio Flores, part-owner/baker, has worked at the bakery for 21 years. In fact, his son, Sergio Flores Jr., works behind the counter serving overly-anxious customers.
Patriarch Flores Sr. started back in 1980 and learned how to make Dianda’s secret zabaione recipe, an Italian dessert made with egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine. In Dianda’s case, they replace the sweet wine with light rum:
“Sometimes, when a repeat customer asks, we add a little bit more rum for special orders.”
It is clear that the bakery is driven by pure passion, especially since the baking crew starts their shift at 2:30 a.m. every day.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of enjoying one or more of their famous Italian rum cakes, almond tortes, St. Honore, Panettone or Tiramisu know exactly what SFBay is talking about.
One can definitely taste it. If it’s not the taste, then it is the sweet smell of homemade custard concocted from scratch, right in their bakery.
Melba Bryant, a Dianda’s customer for longer than 20 years, raved:
“Back in 1990 when I was a Lowell High School student, one of my classmates had a birthday and we had this unbelievable cake. I asked him where he got it and it was from Dianda’s Bakery in the Mission. From then on, every celebration with my family and friends always had Dianda’s delicious cakes. We are forever hooked.”
That’s exactly the loyal following that Dianda’s draws to this day. Always finding ways to please their customers, Dianda’s introduced the Tres Leches cake several years ago to appeal to the Hispanic community.
For Saturday’s 50th anniversary, the Dianda team made over 1,000 cream puffs to give away all day, along with a cake cutting with Narsai David at their 2883 Mission Street location scheduled at noon.
Also serving free cream puffs and coffee is their sister bakery located at 117 Crystal Springs Shopping Center in San Mateo, CA. Both locations are open seven days a week.