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Spinato's canning its popular sauces

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Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 12:00 pm

The dressing and sauces that have made Spinato's such a popular pizzeria may soon be available in grocery stores across the Valley.

The family-owned business has been working for more than a year and a half to find a way to can their sauce. The sauce is now being sold in their restaurants and may show up soon in Fry's and Bashas'.

"It was never my idea or my dad's idea," said Anthony Spinato, president of Spinato's Fine Foods and vice president of operations at Spinato's Pizza. "We had a lot of guests coming in and asking for it. We started putting it in Styrofoam cups and we sold it to them that way. It was less than what it costs now but that was because we didn't have to pay for a jar and labels and all that other stuff. People just kept saying if we canned it they'd buy more. It was really just about the guests asking for it."

Spinato said the first step in the process was deciding on a label. They had 172 revisions before it was perfect.

"We realize that although it was going to be sold in the Spinato's restaurants, that was hopefully going to be one of the smallest places that we were going to sell it," he said. "If we're going to go into grocery stores and markets across the state most of the people we're looking at would probably never even know who we are. We wanted the label to represent who we are and what we do."

In the end, they decided on an image of the whole family to represent their old-fashion pizzeria.

The next step was finding a manufacturer to make the sauce. Spinato says that step is the one that took the longest. A need for perfection made them lose out on an opportunity to get their sauce out quicker.

"We had to take the way we make our sauce and find a way to produce it in a bigger batch and jar it without compromising any flavors or having to add anything," he said. "We wanted to use all the same ingredients. That's why we missed the deadlines with Fry's. I wasn't willing to put something in a jar just because we had an opportunity. I felt if we do this right and put the same sauce in the jar as we use at the restaurant that's our best recipe for success. That was the vision, we had to stay patient with that and follow through."

The Spinatos have met informally with Bashas' about selling their sauce and they plan to revisit Fry's for a chance to sell it there. In the meantime, they have three sauces for sale inside their locations: Marinara pasta sauce, a vodka cream pasta sauce and a basilica pasta sauce. Each 24-ounce pasta sauce is available at the introductory price of $8.99, two packs are $16.99 and a trio of sauces in a gift pack retail for $24.99 for a limited time.

Spinato says the company is working on canning some of its dressings, but that they'll probably never can their signature pizza sauce.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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