The iconic bakery was established in 1957 and is famous for its non-veg delights.

End of an era Bengalurus 60-year-old Fatima Bakery may shut down thanks to Namma Metro
news Metro Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 17:33

Once a small and quaint eatery in old Bengaluru, the iconic Fatima Bakery and Supermarket is a favourite among residents. In a city overpopulated with vegetarian "Iyengar" bakeries, this 60-year-old eatery is a meat-lover’s delight. From beef puffs to mutton samosas and chicken sausage rolls, the joint was Bengaluru’s second outlet to delight the city with the art of baking.

However, this Bengaluru landmark may soon disappear from the cityscape. The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) is now planning to acquire the land on which the bakery stands for the Vellara Road Metro Station.

An emotional VF David, the son of VP Francis who opened the bakery six decades ago, says, "Growing up, the bakery was the constant in my life. It was the place where I got all my favourite treats. Most of my childhood revolved around it and I took over after my father passed away. It is unimaginable for me to think that I may not have the bakery one day. The loss would be too much to bear."

It was in 1957 that VP Francis opened the small joint on Leonard Road in Johnson Market.

VF David, who now owns the place, says, "Before Fatima’s started, the only place where baked goods were sold was at Koshy’s. Ours was Bengaluru’s second bakery. There were many Anglo-Indian families in this part of Bengaluru back then and my father decided to open the bakery as these families relied on baked goods."

David recounts the immediate success that the bakery earned - in just three years since its birth, it broke even and began earning huge profits.

David at Fatima Bakery

“In those days, the prices at Koshy’s was a little steep and not everyone could afford it. My father introduced the art of baking to the common people of the city. In 1957, the statue of the Lady Fatima was touring the world and had arrived in Bengaluru. My father had gone to see the exhibit and was extremely impressed by the sculpture. It was then that he decided to name the bakery after Lady Fatima,” David narrates.

Four years after the bakery opened, the Christian Solidarity International (CSI), an NGO which owned the properties next to Shoolay Circle, had transferred the khata (legal identification document of property) of the land to Fatima Bakery.

“CSI was under the threat of losing the vacant land, as the government had decided to acquire it. CSI then approached my father and transferred the khata to him. It had promised to transfer the ownership on a later day. Until then, we were to pay a minimum ground rent to CSI. Once the property was developed by my father, there was no threat of acquisition,” David adds. 

The bakery, over the years, expanded and the supermarket section was added.

“Our competition is All Saints Bakery and Stores. When they added the store section, we also added the supermarket to the bakery,” David says.

The much loved bakery, however, may have to make way for Namma Metro.

The Vellara Road station, according to the BMRCL’s website, will have two entry and exit points just after Shoolay Circle. The earlier plan was that one entrance would be near the the BWSSB service station on Campbell Road while the other was supposed to come up on the vacant land near the government hospital and dispensary.

However, the BMRCL has changed its mind and the agency’s acquisition team is planning to obtain several properties starting from the petrol pump right after Shoolay Circle. This includes Fatima Bakery, Toms Hotel, Daniel Auto Garage and a beauty parlour, all of which are perpendicular to Campbell Road. The entry/exit near the government hospital has been dropped for now.

“A year ago, the CSI took back the khata and has now given it away to the BMRCL. Earlier, the BMRCL had said that the land lying vacant just opposite the bakery would be used for the metro. The area is used by the Muslim community during Muharram. They had protested the land acquisition. The CSI has planned to give away the land to BMRCL now and we may have to shut down or move elsewhere. But Fatima’s is popular because it has been located in the same place for 60 years. It will take another 60 years to build that kind of image if we move to another area,” David asserts.

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