San Francisco Loses An Icon: Enrico Banducci Gone But Never Forgotten


Picture courtesy of The City Star

One of the most vital reasons why San Francisco and not Oakland has a “there, there” is it’s people. Enrico Banducci, pioneer of the outdoor cafe beat era revolution in North Beach, was one of the brightest stars amongst San Francisco figures with huge historical impact. Enrico established his famous cafe “Enrico’s” at a time when the city was transforming from 50’s sock hop generation to 60’s radical change. Banducci died in his sleep Monday at the age of 85 years young.

In a wonderful article by Anthony Ganter in “The City Star”, a small neighborhood publication in San Francisco, Ganter describes Banducci as “. . . the impressario genius who introduced America to the rebel comedians of the 1950s and early 1960s. . . ” Enrico opened the famous Hungry i and Enrico’s opening up a unforgettable chapter in San Francisco history.

Among the many stars who owe a debt of gratitude to Enrico Banducci for their start or his support:


Courtesy and the San Francisco Chronicle

Bill Cosby, Mort Sahl, Woody Allen, Lennie Bruce, Phylis Diller, and many others were part of the Enrico Banducci “flock.” Although San Francisco seems like a city of strangers, as so many of the long time natives either have died, cashed in on their real estate holdings, or moved away, it was people like Enrico Banducci who helped us remember our roots and the greatness that is San Francisco. Rest in peace our friend and my Italian “brother.”