Thursday, August 19, 2010

NOPA VELO Rides Russian: Stoked with Pastries August 29

Image: Rick Helf

NOPA VELO pedals for pastries Sunday, August 29th with stops at two stunning Russian Orthodox churches along the way. Start out with a hot Peet's brew at Falletti Plaza, then ride through the neighborhood to the Richmond with its Russian community, churches, stores and your soon-to-be-favorite sweet confections. The route includes carb-burning stretches to keep appetites primed. Riders return through the Panhandle for a difficult decision: get lunch at NOPA's super-popular Green Chile Kitchen or go for more delectables at Chile Pies & Ice Cream.

NOPA VELO rides always feature a Nopa-lore connection. Here's a local note on an early bakery in the Western Addition on Grove Street in the heart of today's North Panhandle. In 1889 San Franciscans enjoyed more than 320 bakeries in the city; today there are half as many privately-owned operations. Stoller Bakery at 314 Divisadero was one of the neighborhood's popular sweet spots. John Zoller first worked at Engleberg Bakery on Kearny street for twelve years and at an O'Farrell street outlet for another five years. In 1892 he and his brother Karl opened their own bakery on Divisadero and continued with it for four years. During this time, John and his wife, Catherine, purchased property on Grove Street between Baker and Lyon. By April 15th their two-story home at 1548-1550 Grove was completed.

By 1899 John Stoller grew restless with the bakery business. He decided to try his hand at retail liquor sales instead. He established his new store a half-block from his home on the northeast corner of Baker and Grove. This venture was apparently unsuccessful, and John returned to his original trade as a baker and confectioner until 1907 when records of his business and residency come to an end. As the NOPA VELO troupe heads west with visions of perfect puffs, iders will give a nod to the Stoller brothers on Grove Street.

NOPA neighbors and friends are most welcome to join the North Panhandle's only family- and pet-friendly bike group.

NOPA VELO To Russia With Love, of Pastries Ride
Sunday, August 29
Meet: 9 am at Peet's Coffee
Start: 10:00 am sharp
(If you're running late, join the group on Grove Street)
End: About 12 noon
Lunch options: Green Chile Kitchen, 1801 McAllister @ Baker or Chile Pies & Ice Cream, 601 Baker @ Fulton
Flour-and-sugar dusted confectionary attire encouraged
More info: Lenore 415.300.6744,

Join the NOPA VELO Google group here.

Note: A history of the Stoller Bakery and 1548-1550 Grove first appeared in a longer version in the North Panhandle News, the NOPNA newsletter. Check other "house histories" in the neighborhood at .

Take a look at previous rides and amazing posters by Rick Helf in the NOPA VELO series here.