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Bear N Mom Review of Labriola Food Stores
When I first thought to include Labriola Food Stores on my site as one of the stores where Nunny shopped, I had envisioned just doing a few of their products such as the meats, cheeses and pastas. As soon as I started to talk to Leonard Labriola the current owner of the family owned 4 stores, I knew that this was not going to be the theme of the article. The entire family and their story in the grocery business is too inspiring to just pass lightly over it.
Leonard Labriola Sr. immigrated to America and is shown working at Pompa Grocery. The Pompa family was related to Labriola and in 1929 Leonard struck out on his own and opened his first shop on Larimer Avenue in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Pittsburgh was a very ethnic city and the Labriola family found that their Italian cuisine and foods were well accepted. So much so that in 1969 they opened their store on Hulton Road in Verona.
In 1984 Leonard opened a store on Freeport Road in Aspinwall. This is the store at which Nunny did most of her shopping for Italian meats, cheeses and delicacies. She bought capicola, genoa salami, mozzarella, ricotta, pepperoni and parmesan for her frittata that was a tradition on Easter morning. She bought her smelts and some of her fishes for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner that included 13 fishes.
At the Deli Section you will find delights such as Labriola's Lasagna, Parmesans, olives, sausages along with cheeses of every type grated and whole. In front of the Deli you will find baked goods that even though they may not be Labiola brand are mostly Italian. During Lent you will find the best deep fried Fish Sandwich and Shrimp made all day. People come from all over the city to buy their fish. Just this year, they started making the fish every Friday but you have to be early to get some or preorder it. Once they run out on Friday morning they quit making it for the day.
In the kitchen Garlic Bread, pizza shells, pizzas and pepperoni bread are made. Some are frozen for cooking at home and some are baked on site for sale in the store. Labriola's also carries their own subs and they can be bought at the Deli. In front of the refrigerated section you can purchase pies that are baked in the store and a truly worth the price. Even though the pie is larger than their competitoring supermarket, the store keeps their prices lower and the product is much tastier.
Moving on to the Freezers, you will find a selection of pastas, soups, pizza's ready to bake, stuffed shells, lasagna and a variety of fishes all put together by the Labiola staff ready for cooking at home.
You will also find my son's favorite cook at home frozen pizza in their freezer section. Except for Lent they only carry a pepperoni pizze in the customary round variety and a larger rectangular size. My son swears by the crust on these pizzas instead of the ones that are purchased from the supermarket and made by famous brand names.
Labriola's has it's own brand of pasta sauce and no visit to an Italian store would be complete without olive oil, garlic oil and basil oil.
Leonard has 4 children and his son, Lenny, sometimes works at the stores. There you have the 3 generations of Labriolas who fulfilled an immigrant's dream of coming to America and raising his family in the Italian tradition.
Since 1984, the Labriolas have opened a third store in Monroeville in 2004 on Monroeville Boulevard and are in the midst of opening a fourth store in Cranberry.
As we take leave of Leonard Labriola's Italian Stores, Inc., I have to point out that they go the extra mile by carrying pasta bowls, pizzelle irons, pasta makers and pizza stones. Mangia everyone -- and as Nunny Says, "try it -- you'll like it !!!"
© 2009 Laura L Scotty