A bevy of San Francisco politicians was on hand December 11, 2021 to celebrate the birthday of the Canyon Market, which held its soft opening on fifteen years before.
Mayor London Breed, State Senator Scott Wiener, District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman all attended the festivities on Dec. 11 to celebrate. Bevan Dufty, District 8 Supervisor from 2002-2002 when the market was rebuilding, was also there. There was a gigantic cake, speeches, gift bags and accolades for the market that opened in 2006.
The Canyon Market is part of a complex of three independant entities on the site. It sits at ground floor. Above is the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library, which was formerly housed in the space Bird & Beckett Books now occupies at 653 Chenery Street. At the back, fronting on Wilder Street, are 15 tw0-bedroom condominiums.
Called “the Canyon” or “the Market” by neighborhood residents, it has become a center of activity for the neighborhood. In the winter, its cheerily lit windows are welcome on dark nights. In the summer it offers up food for picnics. Every day at around 5:00 the long lines at the cash register begin to form as people coming home from work stop in to grab something for dinner.
Walking in from Diamond Street, one first hears the cheerful hiss and whoosh of the espresso machine and depending on the time of day the smell of the market’s fresh-baked bread, which almost inevitably sells out by the end of the dinner rush. To the right is a carefully curated selection of fruits and vegetables, many from local farms. At the back, an extremely thorough wine selection fills shelves that go up almost to the ceiling. Across from that is an island of salads and soups, now individually wrapped due to COVID but once more in the build-your-own format.
Next comes several narrow aisles full of beguiling foods and a series of freezers holding everything from puff pastry dough to frozen mango to vegan ice cream. A dairy section contains not just cow’s milk but also goat, along with a flurry of plant-based offerings. Beyond, the meat case is stocked with cowboy steaks the size of your head, chicken, pork, lamb and an intriguing variety of sausages.
The aisle leading to checkout forces shoppers to linger either on sumptuous cheeses to the left or equally alluring ready-made foods including the perennial favorite butternut squash lasagna, risotto balls, meatloaf and an array of warm and cold sandwiches.
The long lines and tried-and-true favorites show the Canyon Market has become an integral part of the neighborhood.
The work of years
The Canyon Market replaced the much-loved Diamond Supermarket, which burned down on Nov. 20, 1998. Diamond Super also included the stand-alone Terry’s Deli. After a long and very San Francisco series of planning struggles, the new market had its “soft” opening on Nov. 21, 2006 . More than 150 excited residents jammed the aisles that day, thrilled to nce again have a full-service grocery store in the neighborhood .
In the years since, the Canyon Market has become as much a part of the neighborhood’s fabric as the Diamond Super was. Given the strain Thanksgiving is for staff, the Tarlovs now mark their anniversary of coming to Glen Park a few Saturdays later with what they bill as a holiday open house.
At the 15th anniversary celebration, Mayor London Breed called the market “a community jewel.”
“If you didn’t know San Francisco and you stumbled on this neighborhood, you would probably think for a moment that you’re somewhere in Whoville, not necessarily in San Francisco,” Breed said.
“Because when folks who live here and work here and businesses here walk around, they know each other… they’re people who are so invested in helping support this community.”
It’s hard to get grocery stores built in San Francisco, Breed acknowledged.
“It’s really hard to get something special like Canyon Market. The Glen Park community has a real treasure in this place,” she said. ’The people who work here, the quality of the items that they sell. …the customer service to the tenth power is what this place represents.
What the market represents is something that will cross generations, she said.
“Kids growing up with this experience of having this local market, they’re going to remember this, it’s something special… And one of the most important ingredients that makes all of this work is the genuine love that Janet and Richard have for this community and how they share of themselves by making it better.”