Sempre Famiglia

 

By Jeff Pitts

 

Italian sausage is usually pork sausage that stands out for being flavored with a distinct seasoning, often consisting of fennel or anise.

Most Italian sausages are hot, sweet or mild. Generally the main distinction between the types is the amount of hot red pepper flakes.

Graziano Brothers Italian Foods grocery store is a southside staple that offers homemade Italian sausages made fresh from a recipe developed three generations ago by first-generation Italian immigrant brothers Frank and Louis Graziano.

Frances Graziano is president and CEO of Graziano Brothers grocery store on the city’s south side.

Frances Graziano is president and CEO of Graziano Brothers grocery store on the city’s south side.

It’s based on the flavor they remembered as children growing up in Italy.

The store was established in 1912. They make link, bulk and patty sausages with fresh, quality pork along with Italian seasoning in the store. Five types of Italian sausages are offered: medium hot, garlic, extra hot, sweet and, to commemorate its 100-year anniversary, andouille sausage.

According to Frances Graziano, president and CEO of Graziano Brothers, medium hot is the company’s most popular seller.

“Some people call it a mild sausage,” she said. “Some say it’s too hot. Mama Bear says it’s just right.”

In all, the store sold nearly a million sausages last year. Much of the sales totals are wholesale to restaurants and grocers around the city, state and country.

“Many restaurants are around here,” says Graziano. “If it doesn’t say ‘Graziano’ on the menu, and it’s a sausage item, they won’t get that item. That’s what I hear over and over again.”

Producer Graziano's

Colton Bostwich grinds sausage at Graziano Brothers.

Graziano’s does a stellar business in house as well. Twenty-five percent of the sausage sales ran through the quaint and cozy neighborhood shop built during the turn of the last century.

What makes these sausages tasty and timeless? Graziano isn’t saying.

“Pork and none of your business,” she laughs, adding that it’s a family secret.

Many times, people from out of state ask for the recipe with a promise to not share it, complaining that they can’t get Graziano’s where they live.

“That’s what you get for moving,” she says with a smile. RELISH

 

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Colton Bostwich grinds sausage at Graziano Brothers.

 

Frances Graziano is president and CEO of Graziano Brothers grocery store on the city’s south side.

 

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