A Letter From Anita Augello
You might say that Charlie and Anita Augello, proprietors of the E. 48th STREET MARKET, owe it all to family and upbringing as they were both involved with family in either restaurants or deli/bakery operations as youngsters. Wanting to capture the intimate appeal of a neighborhood grocery store for Dunwoody residents, the Market was carefully researched to produce some of the best traditional Tuscan, Piedmontese and Sicilian recipes and staples.Not to be overlooked are the mouth watering meats displayed in the deli case, and the ever-popular Mozzarella in Acqua prepared by Charlie on a regular basis. Here shelves are awash with antipasto items, imported items, pastas, traditional cookies, cakes, candies, fine Italian wines and specialty items.The Augellos prepare their own sausages and fresh pastas, including sheets of lasagna which needn’t be parboiled, but ready to be easily cut to fit any size pan. Irresistible entrees and side dishes are prepared from family recipes and prepared daily in the kitchen.
Hearty sandwiches are served on crusty Italian rolls and the Stoffato, a tasty sandwich filled with layers of Italian meats, cheese, crisp lettuce and topped with their own special sauce is a favorite with many customers. At the Market you can dine ‘al fresco’ in the front patio or everything can be packaged to take with and often times shipped.
Sample a dish or two, sip a cup of Espresso or Cappuccino enjoy a Cannoli, along with the friendliness and hospitality of the Augellos as you delight in an unusual shopping experience where regular customers stop in to exchange news about family and friends. Charlie, daughter Andrea, and often daughter Claudia, along with a friendly staff will help you plan for a formal dinner party or a take-a-long picnic for concert or ball game. Limited or full service catering, a favorite with their customers, is available for easy at home entertaining or festivities as elegant as wedding receptions.
Son, Chuck and daughter, Erica all help out when necessary and can be seen popping in from time to time to lend a hand. You might even see a grandchild or a son-in-law. After all it is a family business! As with all neighborhood stores, patrons have watched the family grow as children married and grandchildren or a sonin- law to came along. Family pictures are displayed as lovingly as the Market’s large array of fine Italian wines. The Market’s Gift Baskets and Gift Certificates make wonderful gifts to take or send.”
If you are an Italian food fan, or merely wish to sample authentic cuisine from Italy, your time at the E. 48th STREET MARKET, Italian Food Specialties will be time enjoyed and well spent.
Hours are Monday to Friday 10:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. and Saturday 10:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. We are closed on Sunday to enjoy Family Dinner.
By Anita Sandroni Augello
Charlie and I met in grade school, St. Agnes in New York City. We became friends at a very young age. It has been a blessing in our marriage that we had the same foundation in our upbringing.
When I was growing up I always thought of myself as an Italian. By the same token I knew without a doubt that I was an American. I was fortunately an American by birth, but my foundation was Italian to my very core. My friends, like Charlie’s, were Irish, German, Polish, and Jewish. Our neighborhood stores reflected their heritage. We were Italian and proud of it. Because I lived close to my extended family, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, traditions were lived every day. Charlie never knew his grandparents, but he too lived very close to his aunts, uncles and cousins.
For our children, growing up away from their extended family caused many things to be forgotten. We always felt that it was very important for our children that they know their ancestry. Today though I am concerned not so much for our children as I am for our grandchildren and I am sure eventually their children’s children. Names for holidays are changed, rituals are overlooked, and the world is becoming vanilla. We want not to let this happen in our family. We want our children to know who they are and from where they have come. To do this they should know their beginnings, their roots. I think they have to understand where they came from to really appreciate and grasp who they are. To help with this understanding we brought them all to Ellis Island one cold April day to hear the stories, see the tears, feel the anguish, celebrate the joy, to finally cherish their good fortune at being American.
In the summer of 2004 we took them all to Italy to breathe the air, smell the aromas, walk among the people and visit the little town where my Father was born and lived until his immigration to America. We traveled the cobbled streets of his little village on the outskirts of Siena called Montefollonico. We visited with relatives, paid our respects at the Catholic Church of San Leonardo where my Grandparents were married and my Father was baptized. We walked to the “Cimitero” to place flowers and pay respect. We enjoyed a huge family lunch, where we ate, laughed, and caught up with our relatives. Our non-Italian speaking children and grandchildren conversed with their Italian speaking relatives, ironically understanding one another and having fun. I know my Father must have been smiling that day! Charlie and I have been back to Montefollonico many times since, and last year had the privilege of having my cousin’s oldest son Lorenzo, then seventeen, visit us here in Georgia for a three week visit so we could introduce him to America.
So this is our story. I say “our story,” because it almost overlaps. It is a good one; one to be proud of. Our ancestors, our children’s ancestors were hardworking and brave. They were people with dreams and vision and determination. They wanted a better life, and for this they sacrificed. They left their homeland and their families for virtually the unknown and a dream. For this we should be eternally thankful, and recognize our traditions as a way of paying homage to their memories.
My father, Augusto “Gus” Sandroni came over from Italy as a young boy in the early 1900’s with his parents and two brothers. They settled on E. 45th Street and my Father worked in my Nonno Ugo’s wine and vinegar business at a very young age. He helped put his two brothers through medical school. My Nonna Agnese would tell me that at the age of 10 my dad would go to the livery stable a few blocks over, hitch the horse to the wagon and deliver wine and vinegar and collect the money. On cold winter days she would put a gallon of hot water under a blanket near his legs to keep him warm. My mother, Maria Chippone, came over here when she was around five years old with her older sister and brother accompanied by a 17 year old aunt. They traveled on the ship “America” and arrived on November 27, 1912. Her parents (My Nonna Giovanna Ponzo and Nonno Antonio Chippone) came over one at a time from Torino (Nonno arrived on April 16, 1912 on the ship named “Chicago” and Nonna arrived on May 20, 1912 on the ship “Duca d’Aosta”) before her so that they could work and save the money for the children’s journey. They ran a boarding house for immigrant laborers and later bought a working farm which evolved into a Pensione and restaurant. The children came over in a steerage passage at the November time of year on rough waters. It took more than three weeks. Food was scarce, people were sick, and babies were crying.
My mother-in-law, Maria Graci came over in 1912 around the age of 16, on her third attempt, leaving parents and siblings behind. She traveled with one sister and quickly settled into a job rolling cigars.
My father in law, Salvatore Augello, always a hard working laborer, was also around 16 years of age, and when he arrived we believe it was also in 1912. He worked long hours eventually paying the way for many of his brothers to come and live the American dream, providing them with jobs and a place to call home. They came from Sicily. Should these dreams and their traditions be forgotten? Charlie and I don’t think so. We try to keep up with traditions in the very way our ancestors did with food and love and stories and pictures. Try as we might it does get diluted.
Growing up, holiday meals were always a special time for both of our families. You would never miss a holiday meal. When our parents were alive, Charlie and I, and later on with our children, always ate two holiday meals. At 1:00 pm we were at the family table with Charlie’s parents and then we motored to wherever my family was gathering to sit down at 6:00 pm with them. Without question, you always attended, nicely dressed and on time, ready to pay respects to your elders and greet the young ones. (In fact, as an adult you never entered your parent’s home without a hug, a kiss and a respectful greeting.) More importantly, you wanted to be there. Holidays were not confined to New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but were expanded to also include Christmas Eve, Palm Sunday, Mothers’ Day, and Fathers’ Day, all Baptisms, Holy Communions, Confirmations and gatherings for wedding preparations. Different foods were appropriated for each of these occasions, as Italian holiday meals are orchestrated. For instance before a dinner of Lasagna or Ravioli on Palm Sunday we carried blessed Palms to elderly relatives and to the cemetery. Christmas Eve was the traditional fish dinner. Friends and relatives stopped by for a brief “hello” a glass of wine and a freshly made “Bonati”. After our children were born, in our home, after Mass there was a traditional breakfast and later a traditional dinner.. Thanksgiving with my family included antipasto, turkey, stuffing, salad, and many, many vegetables. At Charlie’s family table there was lasagna, meatballs, sausage, followed by salad, turkey, stuffing, and various vegetables. With both families these meals ended with an assortment of desserts consisting of pastries and cakes, both homemade and store bought from the Italian Pasticceria. Feast days had decorated breads. Sunday meals ended with fruit, nuts and cheese. A special treat was when my Nonna Giovanna would make Zabaglione. Wine was shared with children at a very young age; a small glass or a sip, up straight or in cream soda or 7-Up©. We learned to enjoy it, not abuse it. Holiday meals were celebrated with Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, adopted relatives, friends and whoever did not have a family of their own to celebrate with. We could easily have 30 people at a holiday table, and we lived in small apartments, not large houses. Our holiday meals were a marvel to behold. There was always a reason to celebrate and certainly at the heart of every holiday gathering there was love.
Our families didn’t have money to spend on decorations but the food they served was always delicious, fresh, plentiful and homemade. Food not only nourished the body but during a holiday meal it nourished the mind and soul. I grew up knowing that the most important things in life were God, family and food. Around the table there was always good conversation, good stories, warmth and love.
The idea for the E. 48th Street Market was conceived during a trip to Austria! After years of constant business travel and relocating, Charlie and the corporate world parted ways, as relocation was in the works and we didn’t think it was a good idea to uproot our family one more time.
We mulled over what we wanted to do with the rest of lives and during that trip to Austria while wandering through food establishments, as we always do when we travel, we decided on a Deli of sorts. The idea would be worked, reworked and massaged for several months after returning home. It was exciting. It was frightening. Since we knew foods and staples Italian, and since we were always carrying them back after trips to New York, we bravely set our sights on an Italian specialty market. We wanted it to be a neighborhood market and in an area with a sense of community. What better place than Dunwoody, in the area where we live. So on September 30, 1986 after months, of recipe formulating and planning and strategizing, we opened the doors. The rest, as they say, is history.
We had our lean years. We worked long hours. We worked multiple jobs. Our children helped. Family and friends have taken a shift now and then, but we have recognized our dream. We have truly become a neighborly place. We have our regular customers, our holiday customers. We see their newborns, their college graduates, their parents and grandparents visiting. We hear their family stories, happy and sad. We cry with them and celebrate with them. We’ve watched their families grow; just as they have watched our families grow, with the joy of grandchildren. We are now Nonna and Nonno.
We have an obligation to this new generation. They are of Italian descent.
We’ve taken many different roads in our life but in the end it has all come back to God, family and food.
Anita Sandroni Augello