BUILDING THE VALLEY: Sharpsburg’s Frankie’s Sizzling Canine is making its mark on the native meals scene one hyperlink at a time

Frankie Marchisotto and Mike Conti weren’t on the lookout for enterprise companions once they met after Conti’s sister, McCray, and Marchisotto started courting a number of years in the past.

However their partnership quickly blossomed with the conclusion that the unfulfilled goals had been remarkably related.

The end result was the launch of Frankie’s Sausage at 807 Most important St. in Sharpsburg, the place they opened a retail retailer and manufacturing facility in January.

Marchisotto, 33, says he by no means had the chance to start out a enterprise together with his father promoting the sausages that the household has been making since they arrived in america from Sicily practically 80 years in the past.

Conte, 37, was additionally planning to open a specialist Italian market together with his father specializing in ready meals.

However each males misplaced their fathers to most cancers earlier than these plans could possibly be realized.

“Our backgrounds are very related and we each needed to do one thing, not only for ourselves, however one thing we might move on to our kids to maintain the custom going with the following era,” Conte mentioned.

The significance of household traditions – from the recipes they use to face-to-face interactions with new companies – is expressed of their enterprise motto: challenge “From our fathers” “The product of our fathers.”

The enterprise partnership has grown to incorporate Macri Conti, who will marry Marchisotto subsequent yr and function Frankie’s normal supervisor.

Frankie finds his toes

Inside weeks of Frankie’s opening in early January, enterprise started booming, the restaurant’s house owners say.

Manufacturing has doubled to about 320 kilos of sausages per week and exhibits no indicators of slowing down.

“We knew we had a great product, however we went into this with out actually understanding whether or not folks would settle for it or not,” Marchisotto mentioned. “However folks had been coming from throughout. Pittsburgh had turn into such a foodie metropolis that when somebody new opened up store, phrase acquired out and folks sought them out.”

Conte mentioned they knew that if they might get folks to strive their sausages, they might have a great likelihood of filling a distinct segment in a market that was practically misplaced within the Pittsburgh space.

“Good Italian sausage has at all times been a giant a part of the meals tradition in our space,” he mentioned. “So we felt there was nonetheless a marketplace for a product like ours.”

Marchisotto, whose father first began promoting sausages made with the household recipe when he owned Big Eagle Grocery store in Edgewood, mentioned they needed to fill the void left by the lack of a number of neighborhood butcher retailers.

“There have been butchers everywhere in the space who had been recognized for his or her sausages or kielbasa,” he mentioned. “However these locations are nearly all gone. So plenty of what’s obtainable now’s mass-produced.”

Along with making scorching, medium and candy sausages, Frankie additionally makes smoked kielbasa utilizing a household recipe ready by Marchisotto’s uncle Tony.

“When my father ran the grocery store, his brother was the butcher,” Marchisotto mentioned. “Folks at all times beloved my kielbasa, so we used the identical recipe and named it ‘Frank and Tony’.”

The primary batch was made at Easter, and so they attempt to produce it a number of occasions all year long utilizing the meat smoker put in outside behind the constructing.

However the growing demand for sausages prevented them from utilizing them as a lot as they want.

“We do not do it each week,” he mentioned. “However at any time when we discover a while, we attempt to make some.”

Above expectations

Whereas the comfort retailer has a continuing movement of consumers all through the day, the true development has occurred on the wholesale aspect.

By the tip of the yr, the house owners anticipate to supply about 1,000 kilos of sausages per day to satisfy the shop’s retail demand and wholesale clients, which now contains Big Eagle’s Market District shops, unbiased grocery shops, eating places and pizzerias.

The early recognition of the retail retailer allowed them to generate income to concentrate on constructing the wholesale enterprise, which was very important to the corporate’s survival, Conti mentioned.

“The product was promoting itself, however we nonetheless needed to exit and meet enterprise house owners to present them a pattern and discuss working with them as suppliers,” he mentioned.

“Grocers have been very receptive to us,” Conte mentioned. “They notice that their clients need high-quality meals that’s produced regionally.”

Frankie’s sausage recipe differs from conventional Italian-style sausage as a result of a lot of the fats is trimmed from the pork shoulders they use, leading to a leaner hyperlink that shrinks solely barely when cooked.

Along with pre-packaged, chopped and floor sausages, the small storefront is stocked with a number of Italian meals to go along with it, together with buns, cheese, sauce, contemporary garlic, onions and peppers.

The shop is open from 11am to 5pm Wednesday to Friday and 9am to 2pm on Saturdays.

Like father, like son

Conte mentioned he and his father talked about opening an Italian market earlier than he died as a result of they needed to present folks a number of the experiences they’d rising up in New Kensington.

“There was a big Italian inhabitants, and there have been plenty of small shops that catered to them,” he mentioned. “So we had been fascinated about doing one thing that provided specialty objects and ready meals.”

When the climate improves, they’re outdoors the shop on Saturdays promoting scorching canine and pepper sandwiches to hungry passersby.

“Folks instructed us they smelled scorching canine on the grill as far-off because the Highland Park Bridge and adopted it to the shop,” Marchisotto mentioned. “A whole lot of them take a couple of bites of the sandwich after which go inside and purchase some to take residence.”

Macrae Conte mentioned they obtain many inquiries every day from folks on the lookout for takeout meals.

Conte mentioned they hope to satisfy this demand subsequent yr by rising this a part of the enterprise.

“The new canine enterprise has been nice for us,” he mentioned. “So our plan is to rent extra folks and begin providing ready meals, which inserts with the unique plan I had with my father.”

The brand new product that Frankie’s has begun producing is tomato sauce following the recipe utilized by Conti’s grandmother.

Jars of Conte’s sauce are solely bought on the market in Sharpsburg, however they plan to distribute them to different shops within the space, Conte mentioned.

John Hohman, 63, of Sharpsburg, mentioned he was hooked on Frankie’s scorching canine the primary time he tried them.

“It is scrumptious, it is the most effective,” he mentioned whereas stopping in just lately to purchase some for dinner. “It is nice to have a spot like this in the neighborhood.”

Whereas Marchisotto and Conte are enthusiastic about their enterprise’s upward trajectory, they’re keenly conscious of the dangers of rising too quick.

“Whether or not we produce 1,000 kilos of sausages a day or 10,000, a very powerful factor for us is sustaining consistency and high quality,” Marchisotto mentioned. “This isn’t one thing we’d ever quit on. It needs to be there.”

Though constructing a profitable enterprise to help their household is vital to them, what they’re actually after is making a legacy, Conte mentioned.

“What we would like is for patrons to recollect us because the place they arrive to get scorching canine,” he mentioned. “That is the true motive we put our hearts and souls into this.”

Tony LaRosa is a Tribune-Evaluate employees author. You may contact Tony through e-mail at or through Twitter .

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