Our Story

Our Story

A Young Boy’s Dream Became A Reality

Francesco Lettieri
The Founder

Born in Calabria and raised in Chicago, Francesco was surrounded by homemade Italian food growing up. Even as a young boy, he always had the dream of entering the gourmet food and produce distribution business. Francesco moved to San Francisco in 1973 and opened a small sandwich shop called Mr. Submarine in the Marina neighborhood. Mr. Submarine was a success and the business quickly grew to 7 locations, however Francesco’s dream to bring authentic Italian imported foods to the U.S. was still a burning desire. In 1988, he sold the chain and officially opened Lettieri & Co. in 1988. At last, Francesco’s dream of importing finely crafted food and wine from Italy and around the world had been realized.

Throughout the years, the company has grown in size and now carries over 75 lines of Mediterranean and Italian food imported from the source. Moreover, Francesco’s passion to be one of the finest Italian food distributors and provide delectable Mediterranean cuisine to the U.S. has not faded one bit. Francesco still travels the world, finding hidden culinary gems to bring to the shelves of your local specialty food store, grocery market, and your restaurant’s kitchen!

Along the way, Francesco and his wife Nevenka had two sons, Antonio and Dino. Both sons have been learning the food importing and distribution business from an early age and are excited to continue to grow the family business. Dino’s outgoing personality made him a natural fit for sales, and he is now the Director of Sales and Marketing at Lettieri & Co. Tony’s knack for finding new and exciting products, along with his broad based knowledge of operations within the company lent itself perfectly for his position as Chief Operating Officer. With a solid base of well-established contacts around the world, and a new generation of Lettieri’s poised to grow the business, the future looks bright for Lettieri & Co. Whether it’s imported food from Italy, Greece import foods, or any other delicious food from the Mediterranean region, Lettieri’s promise is to always bring you the best. In addition, it’s not only distinctive and enticing food, we also import wine from Italy and the finest vineyards from around the world so that you can indulge in exquisite taste!

Francesco Lettieri

Lettieri Family
The Future


The sofi Awards have honored the best of the best in specialty foods and beverages from members of the Specialty Food Association since 1972. The Awards represent culinary innovation across America and around the globe. Finalists are selected at the Association’s offices in New York City by a national panel of specialty food professionals. The winners are selected by retailers and food service buyers attending the Summer Fancy Food Show.

2021 – Sofi Gold Award Winner
Truffle, Porcini, & Asiago DOP Ravioli

We’re honored to say that Lettieri has enjoyed recognition for a wide range our specialty products, with 11 awards over the past 20 years. Check out the list of sofi Awards, gold medal, and other accolades below.

Notable Awards

2019 – Tomarchio Aranciata Rossa Organic Italian Soda: sofi Gold – Cold Beverage

2019 – Iliada Single Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil: sofi Silver – Olive Oil

2014 – Barbera Lorenzo no 5 Extra Virgin Olive Oil: sofi Gold – Outstanding Oil

2008 – Giuseppe Giusti Riccardo Balsamic Vinegar: sofi Gold – Outstanding Vinegar

2000 – Maina II Gran Panettone: Gold – Most Outstanding Baked Good, Bread, Grain or Cereal

2000 – Barbera Frantoia Extra Virgin Olive: Finalist – Most Outstanding Oil

Other Awards

2004 – Finalist Most Outstanding New Product 2004

2003 – Winner Most Baked Product

2001 – Finalist Most Outstanding Oil, Vinegar or Salad Dressing

2000 – Finalist Most Outstanding Beverage 2000

1995 – Finalist Outstanding Jam, Preserve, Spread or Topping

1995 – Finalist Most Outstanding Pasta, Rice, Bean or Grain

As of December 18, 2014, Lettieri & Co. has been running our 40,000 sq. ft. warehouse on 100% SOLAR POWER! One company can’t change the world, but we’re making sure to do our part to ensure a better planet for generations to come. When you work with Lettieri & Co., you can feel secure that your products are stored and distributed in a responsible and sustainable manner. We’re not only wholesale Italian food distributors, but also a company who cares about our climate!

Our World Matters