One of the businesses I find the most unique in San Francisco is Guerra Quality Meats. Located in the Inner Sunset, Guerra Quality Meats is a long standing butcher shop and deli offering market and prepared foods as well. Originally on Taraval and 22nd Ave, the business was started in 1954 by Mark and Battista Guerra, 2 brothers from outside of Luca, Italy.
“We were not that unique back then. At least 9 butcher shops lined Taraval alone at the time.” explains John Guerra, the son of Battista Guerra and co-owner of Guerra Meats.
He and his cousin, Robert Guerra, son of Mark Guerra, inherited the business from their fathers and have grown it to be the staple it is today. They’ve added many features such as cheese and international imports that weren’t available in the 1950s. “Back in the 80s, we were just a meat place. In the early 90s is when we added cheese. I remember our first two wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano.” reminisces John. However much they have added, John and Robert have also continued to honor their families heritage by using their families’ recipes for broths, lasagnas, sausages, crab cakes and many other delicious foods that are sold at Guerra’s. In the times I have been to Guerra’s, something that I have always noticed is the friendly disposition of everyone in the store. From customers sharing about their personal lives to butchers behind the counter giving cooking advice, Guerra’s constantly seems bustling with a small town energy.
“We know a lot of customers really well - I mean some of them held us as babies!” exclaims Robert.
He goes on to explain how Guerra’s created that sense of family and community with customers. “We spend a lot of time making ourselves unique. We make all our stocks and sauces and stews and lasagnas. Every meat delivery comes with a recipe - we want customers to have a good experience with our food.” Robert explains. “We are also one of the last independent unionized butcher shops in the city.” explains John. With thoughtful care for their community and remarkable products, Guerra Quality Meats continues to be an institution.
Visit this local staple for a slice of drunken goat cheese or Sobrassata any day 9am - 6pm!