Buffalo Rising Online
Spars' Every Chef Knows...
Feb 2nd 2007, 6:57pm By Christa Glennie Seychew
It seems that every chef in the city knows about Spar’s European Sausage on Amherst Street. Located in the Grant-Amherst neighborhood, its fortunate customers have an array of lunchmeat and sausages (both smoked and fresh) to choose from. It turns out that many of those customers are chefs from some of Buffalo’s most esteemed restaurants. As a testament to their products, Spar’s is not a wholesaler and doesn’t have the ability to make deliveries, which means that chefs interested in incorporating Spar’s premium meats into their menu have to make a special trip.
Just over a year ago, Joe and Beth Kennedy purchased the operation after Joe spent three years apprenticing under the original owner, Eric Spar. Throughout Kennedy’s training, Spar imparted to him his lifetime of experience, some of which took place during his childhood in Germany. After 18 years, Spar decided to sell the business and Kennedy was ready to step in and take over.
With the skills and techniques Kennedy learned during his apprenticeship, and the recipes he inherited, he could have continued to run this successful neighborhood business just as it was. But in the last year, he’s developed recipes and added many new products, which has translated into a business that is growing exponentially. When Spar originally opened the business, he was selling about 40 lbs. of sausage a week, Kennedy is currently moving about 400 lbs. a day. “It used to mostly be regulars from the neighborhood. They’re great, and they still come here for the things we’ve always had, Italian, Polish and German sausage.” Joe told me. “Now we see at least four new faces a week and they come back.”
The variety and quality of their product is unparalleled. Everything is made on site using the freshest, leanest meat. The old-fashioned wood smoker in the back bestows the smoked meats with amazing character and flavor. On the Wednesday that I visited, there were over 30 kinds of smoked and fresh sausage in the case. Selections included andouille, chorizo, calabrese, kielbasa, Hungarian, bratwurst, English bangers, chicken with all kinds of gourmet additions, and of course, Buffalo favorites; Italian and Polish. While there, I observed a gentleman placing an order for a special “run”. With a bottle in hand he requested an old world sausage that incorporates red wine. At Spar’s, with only a 10 lb. minimum, the Kennedy’s are happy to make you a custom product.
The shop also offers a fun and interesting variety of imported goods. Sweets, peppers and other jarred goods, condiments, gourmet cheeses and fine butters are just a few of the growing number of grocery items available. Always friendly and accommodating, this charming shop is going to continue to grow as word spreads about the variety and quality of its goods. And the prices are even better than the food. Spar’s sausage is the special ingredient many of our city’s most talented chefs have already discovered.