by Anneli Rufus
To celebrate its hundredth anniversary, the Gallo Salame company — whose plant is right here in San Lorenzo — is offering free salame-based meals at a limited-time pop-up restaurant in San Francisco.
The vintage brick-walled space is dubbed Trattoria 1910, to signify the year Louis Gabiati founded the San Francisco sausage business that would become Gallo — whose dry salame is California's top-selling lunch meat, according to senior brand manager Kevin Phillips. From now until June 18, the lunches — served Tuesdays through Fridays at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. — are available on a walk-in basis, even if all tables are reserved, Phillips explains. Further freebies are on offer during "Café Nights," Tuesdays through Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. The dishes — including zesty salame-studded salad, calzone, and pasta and even cheesecake sporting crisp candied-salame crowns — were devised by a team of chefs aiming "to do something that's not tremendously mainstream and to show people that salame is not just for sandwiches on a French roll," Phillips says.
As part of the promotion, Gallo is pledging $15,000 to Project Homeless Connect and is donating 2,010 pounds of its products to the San Francisco Food Bank.
"People who are homeless need good protein, but that's one of the hardest things for them to get," Phillips says. "It's the least we could do."
Low-fat and low-sodium salames are also made at the San Lorenzo plant, which employs around 200 workers.
"Over the years, a lot of people have fed their families by making the product and a lot of people have fed their families by serving the product," Phillips says. "It's a Bay Area treasure."
Why all the freebies?
"It's a celebration. When you invite people to your birthday party, you don't ask them to pay."