Published in the February 12, 2016 edition.
By GAIL LOWE
LYNNFIELD — Two local men – Michael “Mike” DiCorato and John Micieli – grew up in homes where Sunday dinners were taken to an art form. The meals went on for hours while dishes of homemade Italian food were brought to the table, one platter after another.
DiCorato said that growing up Italian, his family always looked forward to dinner at “Nonna’s” house. As soon as you walked through the door, the aroma of her cooking would put a smile on everyone’s face. Micieli nodded. He experienced the same thing growing up, he said.
“Sunday dinner was always important to families,” DiCorato commented. “People aren’t taking the time to do that anymore.”
But now, DiCorato and Micieli are intent on bringing back the tradition. It just might happen when Italian food lovers taste the delicious homemade marinara sauce DiCorato and Micieli have cooked up. The sauce was concocted from old world recipes combined with ones their own grandmothers handed down.
When it came time to perfect the sauce, the two men’s wives proved invaluable. After many taste tests, DiCorato’s wife Lisa and Micieli’s wife Maria finally gave their collective two thumbs up and Italian Tomato Co. was born. Two years later, the company is making serious inroads into the marketplace.
The cooking duo kept it simple when coming up with their own recipe. Each jar contains just-ripened California tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive or soybean oil, black pepper and just enough sugar to sweeten the sauce. The all natural marinara is gluten free and contains no preservatives.
Paired with ziti or rigatoni, tossed salad, loaf of garlic bread and glass of wine, you’ve got a dinner fit for royalty.
With the help of a sales expert, DiCorato and Micieli’s goal is first to stock every grocery shelf in New England with their sauce, followed by every grocery chain in America.
This will be no easy feat, since both men work about 80 hours every week and are heavily involved with their respective families. Still, they are confident that their sauce will become a household name. (DiCorato has two children – Juliana, 15 and Adriana, 8. Micieli also has two children – Domenic, 11 and Gianna, 8.)
Currently, Italian Tomato Co.’s marinara sauce is sold at DiCorato’s store — Countryside Deli at 12 Salem St., Lynnfield (Kernwood Plaza) – as well as Hannaford’s, Roche Bros., Wegmans Food Market, Whole Foods and several mom and pop stores. This month, jars of Italian Tomato Co. sauce will appear on the shelves at Stop & Shop.
For the more adventurous palate, a hearty fra diavalo, cacciatore and roasted garlic soon will be added to the line.
Those who also would like to sample Countryside Deli’s pizza and calzone, Italian specialties like chicken marsala and gnocchi alla nonna and hot and cold subs can visit the store or call in an order. Hours are Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The store is closed Sundays. Delivery is available and catering is handled every day of the week.
DiCorato purchased Countryside Deli in 1993 and is now in his 22nd year of business. All major credit cards and cash accepted. Order Italian Tomato Co. sauce online and have it delivered to your home. www.italiantomatoco.com. For more information, e-mail [email protected].