If Golden Gate Fortune Cookies gave itself a fortune, it would read that the business is about to become part of San Francisco history.
That’s because the business — the only one in San Francisco that makes and sells handmade fortune cookies — is set to join The City’s Legacy Business Registry, which means it will receive a financial boost from San Francisco as part of an effort to preserve longtime enterprises in The City that could now be at risk of closure.
Fun fact: fortune cookies, the sweet crunchy treat with a small piece of paper folded inside, were invented in San Francisco. By the 1960s, the practice of making them had mostly switched to an automated system to increase production, but one Chinese immigrant to The City wanted to preserve the hand-folding tradition, according to a Planning Department staff report.
In 1962, Frank Leong established Golden Gate Fortune Cookies with the help of three vintage fortune cookie machines that heat batter into flexible, flat and rounded cookies ready to be folded in their signature shape.
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Located in a three-story commercial building at 56 Ross Alley in the heart of Chinatown, the business today produces 15,000 to 20,000 fortune cookies each day.
“The business serves as a popular destination for tourists with over 1,000 visitors daily,” the staff report reads. “Visiting Golden Gate Fortune Cookies is a cultural experience in which customers have the opportunity to watch workers fold the fortune cookies by hand, are offered free samples, and even have the chance to custom create their own fortunes to be inserted into freshly-made cookies.”
With the registration as a Legacy Business comes a $500 per-employee annual grant.
The Historic Preservation Commission is set to vote on whether to grant Legacy Business status to the beloved fortune cookie company as well as 14 others Wednesday.
The City established the Legacy Business program last year.