One of the most popular foods in St. Louis, Mo., is the Hot Salami Sandwich (also known as the salam de testa) at Gioia’s Deli. Brought over from Northern Italy in 1918 by Charlie Gioia, this St. Louis mainstay is eaten by hundreds of people a day. Not only has the 100-year-old restaurant won a James Beard award in 2017, the Food Network named their Hot Salami Sandwich the Sandwich of Missouri in 2018.
With an award-winning reputation to uphold, Gioia’s employees work hard each day to keep their prized ingredient hot, fresh and safe. Owner and operator Alex Donley, whose family purchased the deli from the Gioia’s in 1980, says they trust nothing but Cambro to keep their hot salami at the right temperature.
“We end up going through about 2000 pounds of hot salami a week and every single one of my locations has three Cambro GoBoxes stacked up on top of each other…that’s our sole source for holding the hot salami,” said Donley.
Every morning at each Gioia’s Deli location, salami is boiled fresh and put into Cam GoBox Front Loaders for safe keeping until it is time to slice the salami logs fresh to order. For 30 years, Gioia’s had been using heating cabinets to keep their salami at temperature before slicing.
“We had these heating cabinets that were making the whole deli super-hot holding this product and that’s why we switched to the Cambro GoBox,” said Donley. “In my opinion, the [salami] is better now than when it was in the heating cabinets.”
Besides the quality of product, Donley has seen a major improvement within the operation itself after switching to Cam GoBoxes.
“It reduces our use of electricity. The output of heat in the deli, when you’re a little 2,000 square foot business and you’re seeing 500 to 600 people a day, it gets extremely hot no matter how much air conditioning you put in. People are heat and so if we can take away any heating components, like a heating cabinet that’s inefficient, then we’re going to do that. The Cambro GoBoxes were that solution,” said Donley.
Cam GoBoxes became a permanent fixture at the deli after Donley and his team had an extremely successful experience with them at an event.
“[The salami] stayed at the safe temperature to eat the product for eight hours, and so we were like, ‘wow, this is incredible’,” said Donley.
Not only does Donley appreciate that Cam GoBoxes are lightweight enough for all of his employees to carry, they’ve proved to be very durable.
“We use them so much. And it’s amazing, we’ve had the same Cambro GoBoxes for I think two years now, and we have not had to replace any of them. We just keep them clean and they’re still holding strong,” said Donley.
The salami at Gioia’s Deli is a signature product you can’t get anywhere else. In fact, the Hot Salami Sandwich was beloved by St. Louis native and baseball icon Yogi Berra. He lived a block up The Hill, St. Louis’ Italian neighborhood, and grew up eating Gioia’s hot salami. If you find yourself in the St. Louis area, you can stop by Gioia’s Deli and order it the “Yogi way”: hot salami with Provel cheese, onions, peppers and mustard.
For more info on how Cam GoBoxes can help your operation, click here to contact your local Cambro rep.