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Downtown Workers Mourn Specialty’s Cafe and Bakery, Which Is Closing All Locations After 33 Years

It’s the end of a cookie era 

Cookies from Specialty’s

Downtown office worker standby Specialty’s Cafe and Bakery announced this weekend that all 55-plus of its locations — across California, Washington, and Illinois — would close for good after 33 years in business. According to an announcement on its website, “current market conditions attributed to COVID-19 and shelter-in-place policies have decimated company revenues,” and its last day in operation will be Tuesday, May 19.

A standby on many a San Francsico corner, Pleasanton-based Specialty’s is well-known to office workers for its catered lunches of large trays of sandwiches and pastries, with plenty of leftovers for post-meeting raids. For those workers, it’s the end of a cookie era.

When it was founded in 1987, Specialty’s was a relatively fresh concept, baking all breads and pastries in house daily. All its sandwiches were made on fresh bread, and many pastries were handed to customers while still warm. Specialty’s eventually expanded into a multi-state chain, and was acquired by Mexico-based beverage and retail company FEMSA in 2016.

But even as the quality of bakeries has risen across San Francisco, Specialty’s still satisfied a certain craving, providing quick breakfasts and lunches to busy working professionals. For other food businesses that largely serve office workers, who are now working and eating at home, it’s a large and ominous closing. So get your turkey sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies before they close on Tuesday, as the cafes and bakeries are cancelling and refunding any orders after that date.