There are several reasons as to why our area excels in the culinary arts, but none more prominent than our multigenerational family businesses. Customs, recipes and hospitality passed down through years of family-owned establishments have helped create this food hub we call the Utica-Rome-Herkimer area. For nearly one-hundred years, Carmen Bossone Jr's family has been a part of that legacy and along with his wife Gina, they have taken the baton at Bossone Sausage & Meat Co. on Bleecker Street in East Utica.
The family history in the meat business goes all the way back to Carmen Jr's maternal great-grandfather, Frank Mondi. Frank was a cattle dealer in the 1920s who made his way into the rural areas of Central New York to buy and sell. In those days, it was a rigorous job - winter conditions called for a horse and sleigh to transport the meat from place to place. Frank taught the trade to his son Dominick (Carmen's Jr's maternal grandfather) who conducted a slaughterhouse on Catherine Street in Utica. Years ago, Dominick hired a hardworking young man who eventually became his son-in-law - that man was Carmen Bossone (Carmen Jr.'s father).
After earning his trust and respect as an employee, Dominick introduced Carmen to his daughter Lillian and the two were married in 1950. Five years later, Carmen became a member of the Utica Fire Department - a career he enjoyed for more than twenty-five years. Carmen, along with fellow firefighters Anthony Ferrucci and John Pimpinella founded Dino's Sausage Company on Albany Street in Utica. They eventually built it into a state-wide enterprise that is still running strong today. At the age of sixteen, Carmen Jr. began working alongside his dad at Dino's and became the fourth generation of his family to be involved in the meat business.
For the next several years, Carmen Jr. worked with his father before taking a job with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1989. After a six-year run with the FDA, Carmen Jr. followed in his father's footsteps and became a member of the Utica Fire Department. While employed as a fireman, Carmen Jr. worked part-time at Dino's until his father's passing in 2005, when the family sold their portion of the business. With two teenage children, Carmen Jr. and his wife Gina continued to raise their young family, but the thought of re-entering the meat business was always in the back of their minds. They would get their chance about a decade later.
With their children grown up and on their own, Carmen Jr. and Gina began seriously looking into opening their own place in 2014. They had their eye on a particular location at 711 Bleecker Street but the space was occupied at the time. By 2016, the space was open, and Carmen Jr. and Gina jumped at the opportunity. The one setback was that the previous occupant was not involved in the food business and the Bossones would have to invest in all new equipment. At this point, nothing was going to stop them from chasing their vision and so they converted a former cellular phone shop into a full-fledged meat market - opening Bossone Sausage & Meat Co. in 2016.
From the time Carmen Jr. and Gina opened the doors, it has been a constant evolution of new products, but let's start with the basics. Their flavors of sausage (in bulk, links or patties) include: mild, medium, hot, Sicilian, Rapini, Tomato Basil, Breakfast and Pepper & Onion Patties. For a lower-fat options they also offer chicken sausage flavors including: sweet Italian, hot and apple. Their meatballs have won at least won category in the Abraham House's Meatball Madness competition the last three years in a row.
They offer both pork and beef bracioles as well as a selection of beef products including: ground, patties, bacon cheddar burgers, beef stew and stuffed meatloaf. Pork products include: pork stew, seasoned pork roast, boneless center cut pork chops, breaded pork cutlets and stuffed pork chops. Stuffed chicken breasts and breaded chicken cutlets are also on the menu. The Bossones also make their own capicola, bacon and ham which are all smoked on site. Steak lovers can purchase choice Angus ribeye, cut to order. Gina puts her twist on the menu by making her "heat and eats" such as mushroom stew, greens and beans, pasta fagioli, rice balls as well as sausage and spinach rolls. The Bossones have a full deli and are known for their Sunday fried meatball and fried dough special.
Bossone Sausage & Meat Co. is what many would call an "old world" store. They incorporate concepts that are familiar to those who have loved Italian food for years while introducing younger generations to authenticity. There will always be a place for great Italian food in this area and the Bossone family, now in their fifth generation with Carmen III (Carmen Jr.'s son), continue to be one of our providers. The front end of the business is now run by their daughter Samantha Marie.
For more information on Bossone Sausage & Meat Co. dial 315-765-6409, visit them at 711 Bleecker Street in Utica, or check them out on Facebook.