Roberts was established as a butcher shop in the San Francisco Tenderloin District in 1889 by W.F. Roberts. It was at this location that the famous cambridge sausage recipe, that we still use today, was developed. Shortly, Roberts moved to 2817 California St. and was called the Alta Plaza Market.
It was still primarily a meat, fish and poultry store, where almost everything was delivered by horse and buggy. The family lived above the market in a small apartment. William F. Roberts Jr. lived and grew up here with his two younger brothers, Percy and Raymond, and his sister, Blanch. All worked in the business. W.F. Roberts even had his own horse, named Mertile, and buggy for deliveries.
George Roberts, the son of W.F.Roberts Jr. and the current owner of Roberts of Woodside, grew up in the Richmond district of San Francisco. He moved, along with his brother, Bill, and sister, Lorraine, to California St. in 1945 where they lived above the market.
George began to work in the market, at a young age, grinding hamburger meat, cleaning chickens, and packaging meat orders for delivery. But as soon as he was old enough to drive, he made deliveries. Through college he continued to work weekends and summers. After graduating from Stanford in 1956, George volunteered for the draft. When he returned from Germany in 1958, he resumed work at the market in the grocery department.
Roberts really began to grow. First they moved into produce and then groceries. The building expanding as well to include 2849 California St. also. Everyone had their place in the business.
Being the oldest, William naturally became a butcher. Percy was responsible for the grocery department and the deliveries. Raymond, the youngest brother, was involved with the produce department, the office, and the maintenance of the delivery trucks. Blanch worked in the office and took delivery orders over the phone.