The Toscano Brothers Story

I grew up in the Bay Area.  My brother and I loved the sourdough bread from three local bakeries, Parisian, Toscana, and Colombo.  Our favorite was Toscana.  My brother and I would gobble up their sourdough loaves, and our mom would make us French bread pizzas from the Italian bakery all the time.  We always enjoyed freshly baked sourdough bread for Sunday dinners and we dreamed that one day we would open an Italian bread bakery.

Because flour is one of the most important ingredients in pizza, I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know millers.  Over the years, I worked closely with Keith and Nicky Giusto from Central Milling. We developed our own pizza flour, we’ve demonstrated and taught our pizza and bread techniques, and the three of us think of ourselves as “fratelli,” brothers in Italian.  Keith and Nicky Giusto are world renowned millers.  They mill the finest flours, and if you look at the bags of flour at the best artisan bakeries in the Bay Area, you’ll see the Central Milling stamp on them. 

I have two restaurants in North Beach, and over the years since I opened Tony’s, I’ve come to realize that all the neighborhood bread bakeries are gone.  This saddened me along with the rest of our North Beach neighbors.  I knew that North Beach needed an Italian bread bakery, and I wanted to see whether I could open a neighborhood bakery.  I wanted to bake the great San Francisco sourdough I remember, using a traditional sourdough starter, bake other naturally leavened breads, and bake true boiled NY bagels.  For years, the Giustos and I discussed a bakery, and they said they were going to help me make it happen.  They aren’t only millers, they’re amazing bakers who bake bread at the highest level—Keith has baked numerous award winning breads and Nicky was on the US team at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in 2016 (when he was the team’s captain) and 2020 (when he was the team’s coach).  So when my fratelli Keith and Nicky offered to help, I knew we could do something special.

At Toscano Brothers, we have a stone mill to make our own flour.  We have a steam injected Cuppone brick oven from Italy, the first of its kind in the US.  We will mill spelt, an ancient grain, and blend it into other flours from Central Milling for our Organic  Sourdough Ace Pagnotta Italian Country Bread with Rosemary and Italian black cured olives. Another one of our favorite breads is a Sour Cherry and Chocolate Batard with Maldon salt, and we’ll only make a small number of these loaves.  Our Gold Standard Baguettes, breads, and bagels are all made with a forty year old sourdough starter made from organic Zinfandel grapes from Robert Pepi vineyards in Napa, and the baguette tastes like the French bread I remember from my childhood. It’s a real San Francisco sourdough.  

Fresh dough, Italian/French bread pizza, Roman potato flat breads, artisan coffee, Mortadella and Prosciutto di Parma panino, and fresh pasta will be also available at Toscano Brothers.  

We want to pay homage to the great local Italian bread bakeries of the past.  My family comes from Lucca, Italy which is in Tuscany.  Bread from Tuscany is known as being bland with no salt or flavor.  The bland Tuscan bread goes back hundreds of years, and they say that’s because salt was heavily taxed, so it was not used in breads.  Toscano Brothers is here to change the way people think of bread from Tuscany, one loaf at a time.

Buon appetito spezziamo il pane

-Tony Gemignani