Historic Significance of the Buon Gusto Sausage Factory Building to North Beach

By Katherine Petrin, Architectural Historian

On February 1, 2021, the Buon Gusto Sausage Factory was placed in the National Register of Historic Places. As a result of being placed in the National Register, the property has also been listed in the California Register of Historical Resources. National Register listing affords the honor of inclusion in the nation’s list of cultural resources worthy of preservation and provides a degree of protection. Listing also allows access to certain tax advantages and the use of the State Historic Building Code to facilitate restoration.

Photo by Katherine Petrin

Located at 535 Green Street, the Buon Gusto Sausage Factory was constructed as a purpose-built, industrial, commercial facility for the manufacturing of specialty Italian meats. Designed by architect Martin J. Rist for owner Federico (Fred) Casissa, the building was completed in 1948 at a total construction cost of $150,000.

 

The new facility allowed Casissa to expand his workforce to 40 employees capable of processing 25,000 pounds a week of Italian style salami and sausage. Casissa planned to be the largest producer of Italian specialty meat in the West. Prior to World War II, North Beach sausage and salami producers could be characterized as small operations where meats were often made and cured in the rear of, or at the basement level of, Italian grocery stores that occupied retails storefronts throughout the neighborhood.

 

The Buon Gusto Sausage Factory is directly associated with the area’s commercial development, as well as the history of its Italian community during the early-to-mid 20th century. As a facility to produce Italian specialty foods, Buon Gusto was important in maintaining an Italian culinary presence in the neighborhood during a period of significant demographic change after World War II. As the last vestige of the area’s sausage-making trade, the building remains a tangible link to the community’s Italian heritage during the 20th century.

 

Buon Gusto is an intact example of International/Modern architecture applied to a utilitarian building type. The building's principal façade embodies distinctive characteristics of the International style.