Another Seattle institution is closing down. On Saturday March 20, Remo Borracchini’s Bakery and Mediterranean Market, popular with locals for nearly a century, announced that it would not reopen for all winter after it closes. In a Facebook post, the property cited the impact of the pandemic as the main reason behind the decision.
“Remo Borracchini’s bakery is known for our wonderful cakes and that’s why we are in the party business. The problem with this is that over the past year no one has gathered to have these parties, ”the Borracchini statement said. “Needless to say, it was devastating to our business.”
Borracchini’s received a lot of support following the announcement. Facebook generated 2,000 comments and more than 3,000 shares. Many commentators praised the carefully decorated desserts, which have served as the focal point of countless celebrations over the decades, wrapped in the familiar pink box with the bakery’s name in blue calligraphy.
In a city that has developed dramatically over the decades, Borracchini’s has been a convenience food establishment. Its history dates back to the early 1920s when the founding family emigrated from Tuscany and started trading in the Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley neighborhoods. Patriarch Mario Borracchini opened a bakery in his basement before ending up at its current location on Rainier Avenue South in 1939, according to the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.
Although sweets were a Borracchini specialty, the store sold pasta, olive oil, sauces, bread, sausages, and other staple foods, along with other baked goods in addition to cakes. Mario passed the business on to his sons Dino, Angelo and Remo until Remo took it over completely in 1965; Soon after, the bakery leaned on its excellent reputation for special occasions. So widespread was the bakery’s influence that owner Remo once pondered the Seattle Times that on any given Saturday, probably more than 13,000 people in Seattle were eating the bakery’s wedding cakes. Most recently, his three daughters Lisa Desimone, Mimi Norris and Nannette Heye ran the show.
The sad news about Borracchini landed just a few blocks away on the same weekend that another Italian icon of the Seattle food scene said goodbye. On Sunday, the Oberto store, built in 1953, opened on Rainier Avenue – known for its emphatic Neon Oh Boy! Sign – Permanently Closed, space for an extension to the nearby Hamlin Robinson School to help students with dyslexia and other study-based challenges. The famous sausage and dry meat manufacturer will continue its activities in Kent and Renton. Unlike Borracchini, however, the departure was planned before the pandemic.