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Do You Remember Lupoi's Market?

Update: Walnut Creekers have memories of the store on Ygnacio Valley Road, prompted by this photo contributed by Tom Bacon.

More about Lupoi's Market history: "When two traffic lights glowed in Walnut Creek," by Judy (Lupoi) Teames.

Patch reader Tom Bacon sent in this photo of Ygnacio Valley Road a half-century ago, and the memories have flooded in — on the Patch comment stream and on Walnut Creek Patch's Facebook site.

There are a lot of fond reminiscences of Lupoi's Market across the street, in the area close to today's Iron Horse Trail pedestrian bridge over Ygnacio Valley Road. The fresh crab at Lupoi's was a hit. On the other side of the market were railroad tracks that were still in use. Kids put pennies on the rail to squish.

Other stores were closed, but Lupoi's was conveniently open on holidays and Sundays.

Patch reader Paula Miller wrote: "This store is what Walnut Creek used to be all about......locally owned and operated and always open for your convenience. Tony Lupoi was a feisty guy who didn't take well to shoplifters and such and there wasn't much you couldn't find in his store, particularly on a Sunday evening (long before the days of 24/7 shopping at large supermarkets). Had a great butcher shop and wonderful fish market. Tony went to the SF produce market every day so the produce was fresh and great. Sure do miss it."

Tom Bacon uploaded the historic photo to our "Walnut Creek Pics & Clips" file. Just click on "Submit Photos & Videos." Please send us more historical photos. You can put a caption in there or email a longer caption to the Walnut Creek Patch editor at lance.howland@patch.com

JoAnn Dawe August 16, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Yes, we certainly do remember and stopped there often in those days. We moved to WC from San Francisco and loved bing able to buy fresh fish. The Milk Depot was also a great favorite in those days. Drive in and receive direct service to our car, milk in glass bottles. JoAnn Dawe
Chris Wertz August 16, 2012 at 05:39 AM
I remember I was 11 years old and every Saturday morning I would head out the door and walk all the way from my house( near Walnut Heights) down Walnut Blvd to Lupoi's just to buy a dozen Jolly Rancher candy sticks. My sisters and I still talk about this 40 years later. Chris Bressler Wertz
H Hudson August 16, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Shopped there often; loved it. So much crammed into a small space. You'd have to twist through the narrow aisles and learn what was stashed where. Tony (& usually his sister) were always there saying hello, & minding the store. Didn't care that it wasn't into decor or other fanciness. You got service, fresh fish, fresh produce & Tony & his sister. Sure do miss it.
Ken Kozak August 16, 2012 at 04:10 PM
When I first visited Lupois it was well after this picture was taken. Jay-Vee's was gone, and the vacant lot to the right was already one of several restaurants to be located there--Love's BBQ. Tony was gruff alright, but had a little more to him. I was in line one day when he was counseling a very young prospective buyer of cigarettes about smoking, and in a genuinely fatherly way. No cigarettes for him that day! I do miss Tony, the store, and the fish market's freshly cooked crabs. Ken Kozak
Kris Bonfil August 16, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Thank you Tom. Great memories of Lupoi's! Loved it! Great photo too!
Steve Curtis August 16, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I loved Lupoi's Market ... walked there almost everyday to buy lunch at the deli or grab some fresh fruit, which really was fresh. Tony was great ... with a heart of gold. I still miss that place. Walnut Creek was no longer a small town when that littel store disappeared.
Austin Teames August 16, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Thank you SO much for posting this! Tony Lupoi (Pappy) was my grandfather and I have many childhood memories at his store. I was tearing up just reading the comments here. It is great to know that my "Pappy" is remembered by so many people in the community. I remember sitting behind the counter and helping bag groceries. My pay was an ice cream out of the bin in front of his register. I also remember waking up early in the morning for trips to San Francisco and Oakland to get fresh produce and fish. It was amazing to hear my grandfather wheel and deal with the vendors, occasionally in Italian. Many, many great memories!
Mary August 16, 2012 at 11:26 PM
in 1984 I rented a house off Homestead . Lupoi's was always a stop before heading home. The deli was a favorite for sandwiches and such following a summer swim with friends in the lake. What a great time in my life!
Judy teames August 17, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Thanks so much for the article. I am Tony Lupoi's daughter, Judy Teames, now living in Portland Oregon. Those were the days of an open fire in a 50 gal. rusty can at our Christmas tree lot, of a free ice cream cone handed to a crying child, of my dad telling a customer how to make red onions sweeter and where you could buy french bread delivered still warm and where crabs were cooked the same day they were caught. My Dad's motto, "If we don't have it, you don't need it." I loved those times! August 17, he will have passed 6 years ago.
Lance Howland (Editor) August 17, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Judy: In one paragraph you said a lot there. You're a writer! If you want to take four or five paragraphs to reminisce about your dad and the customers, and perhaps yourself (did you work in the store?), the readers obviously would love it. You can tell from the wonderful comments here. If you'd like to write a longer piece, I'd love to publish it. You can email me at lance.howland@patch.com and by the way what year did Lupoi's close? -- Lance Howland, editor, Walnut Creek Patch
Peter Cross August 17, 2012 at 03:54 PM
My two brothers and I grew up and lived on Carmel Drive from 1966 to 1993. We would walk down the railroad tracks, avoiding trains and the "hippie" riff raff, to buy those blocks of bubble gum with the smiley face on the outside (can't remember the brand). Mr. Lupoi would range from testy to incredibly warm, I can see his image in my mind very clearly. He and his beautifully charming market were reliable things in my life. To this day my favorite running trail is going by this stretch of real estate. More than any location, this reminds me of days without time, no committments....childhood.
jeff gruhn August 18, 2012 at 03:24 PM
The orginal Lupoi market was on Locast and Bonanza streets in down town Walnut Creek Thats ware I went to pick up things. And my Dad built the second Lupoi,s on Y.V. for Romely const. co. Tony was well known through out the valley. and I in the summer worked on the building. ragtop 40
Diane Hansen-Bettis August 22, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Lupoi's was the first place my mom sent me after I got my driver's license. My friend Gail and I used to ride our horses to Lupoi's, tether them in the parking lot, run in and get a cool drink or candy bar and some carrots. I loved that store. Tony was right- if he didn't have it, we didn't need it.
Lance Howland (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Diane: You probably should have broken that comment into two paragraphs. Some people are going to read that to mean you had a license to drive a horse! {-: Was there a dirt trail that came up to Lupoi's? Did you ride the horse on the shoulder of the road? Hard to visualize traffic on YVR being light enough to accommodate a horse. What year was this? Also, in case you missed it, there's another piece about Lupoi's, "When Two Traffic Lights Glowed in Walnut Creek," written by Judy (Lupoi) Teames. http://patch.com/A-xdCJ --- Lance Howland, editor, Walnut Creek Patch
Tricia Spears August 23, 2012 at 11:04 PM
My brothers and I did the same thing and if Peggy is one of your sisters, I went to school with her! Tricia Feeney Spears
Cindy January 15, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Lance, I am just eading this comment now and was looking for a "You know you grew up in walnut creek if" site. Any ideas of any? I live in CT now but grew up in Walnut Creek until I was 12 then moved to Pleasant Hill. Cindy
steve mayfield January 29, 2013 at 07:05 PM
I remember Lupoi's as the place to stop for candy and drinks coming to or going from Walnut Creek Intermediate school in 1965-1966 One of the best memories of Walnut Creek
jessica freels January 31, 2013 at 09:40 PM
my mother used to go there late in the evening and get milk. When Mt. diablo was on fire, I remember driving there with her, and sitting on top of our an in the parking lot. And watching the fire. It was something i will never forget.

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