One historic bakery will replace another at 2937 24th Street, where Richmond District favorite Cinderella Russian Bakery & Café will open a second location in the former home of the recently closed La Victoria Bakery. Cinderella owners Mike and Marika Fishman plan to renovate the 3,000-square-foot space to expand Cinderella’s wholesale operation, distributing new offerings like more breads and cakes. They’ll also add a second sit-down Cinderella Café at the location within the next year, serving more of their popular soups, sandwiches, and boiled dumplings.
La Victoria’s 70-year reign on 24th Street came to an end last month as the Maldonado family, owners of the bakery and the building, sold their space and closed their bakery. The Maldonados had feuded for years over the fate of the property, with longtime bakery operator Jaime Maldonado, son of founder Gabriel Maldonado, subcontracting the bakery to a former employee in its final months.
Cinderella, for its part, is nearly as old as La Victoria was, serving Russian breads, pirogi, and fried piroshki since 1953 in a historically Russian enclave of the Richmond District. Couple Mike and Marika Fishman have been Cinderella’s sole owners for a decade: Mike began working at the bakery with his mother, now retired, after emigrating from the Soviet Union to San Francisco in 1987. Over the years, he learned recipes from Cinderella’s original owners, two Russian women, and added his own items to the menu.
“We’ve been looking to expand for a long time, especially in the last few years,” says Mike Fishman. Cinderella’s current space — which the Fishmans lease — is just 1,600 square feet. When the La Victoria space hit the market, and after its price dropped, the Fishmans pounced.
La Victoria was among the first Mexican businesses to establish itself on the Mission’s 24th Street corridor. In the ’50s, the area was a working class German and Irish neighborhood with a growing Mexican-American population. Fishman hopes Cinderella can fit right into the fabric of the area. “San Francisco is a city of a lot of multiethnic cultures,” he says, adding that he plans to reach out to previous La Victoria employees.
While the space needs some restorations “to say the least,” it was a rare stroke of luck to find a fully licensed bakery space for sale. It’s also close to the freeway, aiding wholesale delivery orders. And, most of all, ownership of the building grants the Fishmans a sense of security in their business.
“A second store is a big thing,” says Fishman. “We’ll see after that where things will take us.”