Luigi’s and Lemucchi’s Grocery has been at its present location since 1910 and is one of Bakersfield’s oldest continuous family operated businesses. The early business featured a grocery, a cafe, a bakery and a gasoline station.
Joe Lemucchi, the founder of the business, came to California from Lucca, Italy and started his original cafe on Sumner Street in 1906. Lemucchi married Emelia Degiuli, also an Italian immigrant, and the couple moved in 1910 to the present location of the business at 725 East 19th Street.
The now famous Luigi sandwich originated in the cafe where Joe and Emelia always had fresh stew, pasta sauce and minestrone soup for hungry customers. After Joe Lemucchi’s death, Emelia and her son, Louis, continued the business. The bar was added next to the old store, and the restaurant expanded into the building to the east. The new expanded bar and restaurant were named “Luigi’s.”