For over 100 years, Des Moines has had that Italian flavor.
While many of the immigrants have moved their families to the suburbs, a few of their landmarks remain, including Graziano’s.
Frank Graziano was 16 and his brother Louie was 14 at the time. They came to America by themselves. They were orphan children at the time.
In Iowa, before there was insurance or even big farming, Central Iowa had coal mines, and they needed workers.
The owners would say, if you can recruit another worker, we will pay for your family to come to America. That was a big incentive for them to do that. That’s why there’s such a large concentration of Italians here.
Instead of working on a coal mine, they opened a grocery store, but their service stood out.
From a family recipe, the brothers crafted their other legacy: Graziano’s sausage. Wholesale to restaurants, it took over the business.
There are now 4 varieties in the case, and at least 1 can be found at over 300 restaurants and stores in Central Iowa.
All in all, we consume over 13,000 lbs of it in a week.
It’s no wonder the name stands as one of Des Moines’ most memorable.