Friday, September 25, 2009

Stuck to My Ribs: Joe Fassi Sausage & Sandwich Factory

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 12:45 PM

click to enlarge stuck.jpg
All guys have those days when, rather than spend the daylight hours doing yardwork or attempting to finish another longstanding house project, all we want to do is wrap our paws around a large, meat-packed sub and eat our way into a nap.

In my house, these are called Saturdays.

On these afternoons, the lone entry on the to-do list reads, "Choose which meat to pile onto hoagie roll." Popular options include ham, turkey, roast beef, maybe even braunschweiger. And while those are all fine alternatives -- except maybe braunschweiger, which frankly frightens me a bit -- there are times when your grumbling stomach lobbies for something with a little more heft, something like...a handmade Italian salsiccia.

Some stomachs are really specific like that.

click to enlarge JOSH BACOTT
  • Josh Bacott
One of the ancillary benefits of living in South City (as I do) is that when this urge strikes, you're just a few blocks away from a neighborhood where Italian sausage is the native crop. And while the Hill is home to ample joints that serve it up, only one of them has the stones to call themselves a sausage "factory": Joe Fassi Sausage and Sandwich Factory at the corner of Sublette and Dugan Avenues.

Joe Fassi has maintained a presence on the Hill since 1926, operating as a grocery and tavern for a majority of those years -- and cranking out top-shelf sausage for all of them. In 1993, the location was remodeled and re-opened in its current form as a sandwich shop by Tom Coll, great-grandson of the original proprietor.

Like most places on the Hill, the experience of dining-in at Joe Fassi inevitably offers up a demonstration of the community that still exists in this historic neighborhood. Whether it's a uniformed St. Louis police officer ribbing an old friend as she walks in the door, two regular patrons chatting about the upcoming Blues season or a double chili dog named after baseball Hall of Famer and friend of the family, Yogi Berra, you know you're walking into a place that oozes history.

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