History of Pallucca’s Meat Market and Deli

By Crawford County January 3, 2017

To celebrate National Spaghetti Day on January 4, we took a visit to Pallucca’s Meat Market and Deli. We interviewed owner, Ethan Edwards, about the history of the deli and the popularity of the pasta recipes that have been around for years.

 

Pallucca’s Meat Market and Deli began as a small grocery store in 1909 in Frontenac, Kansas. Originally a partnership between immigrants Attilio Pallucca and Enrico Moriconi, the Pallucca family maintained full ownership of the store from 1912 until 2014. Pallucca’s moved from Cherokee Street to its current location on East McKay in 1930.

Unlike today’s aisle-lined grocery stores, Pallucca’s customers picked out food on shelves behind store employees, who collected the groceries for each shopper. Many of the old legends people tell about the Pallucca’s backroom come from these days. Previous owner Dick Pallucca denied most of them when he ran the store, calling them “tall tales that keep getting taller.”

What was true about Pallucca’s in the mining days and Great Depression was that it extended credit to shoppers (including coal miners) struggling to pay for their food. Dick Pallucca told about these miners, who, “could be in the worst state, and still struggling, but whenever that next payday came and they had enough money, they were back in the store paying us back.”

In 2009 the grocery store was remodeled to refine their efforts toward a meat market and deli. Soon after, Pallucca’s was sold by Dick’s children to current owner Ethan Edwards. Edwards has run the store since 2014 and continues to serve lunch and cater events through the deli along with operating the convenience store. “We’re really known for our homemade italian sausage, our ‘garlic sausage that you can taste for days’, as people like to refer to it as, and of course our popular dishes: rigatoni and sausage or spaghetti and meatballs that we do for our lunch specials or our catering.”

The meat market and deli continues to thrive on the quality of their authentic meals (original recipes preserved in what Edwards calls the “store Bible”), their tradition, and established presence with Crawford County. “You really get that small town connection,” Edwards believes. “The reoccurring people that keep coming in; people get so excited when they come in and it makes you enjoy it. You realize… how many people appreciate the store still being open.”

Pallucca’s is open at 207 E McKay Street in Frontenac every Monday through Saturday 9:00-6:00 p.m., with lunch specials served Monday through Friday 11:30-1:00 p.m.

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Geri Malle says

I love this hometown deli and market. We have been going there for over 45 years. The Italian sausage is so good and not found anywhere else (that tastes this good)!!! The garlic salami is sooo good too. I try to get there whenever I get to Pittsburg. I'm so glad the tradition continues!!! My inlaws have gone there long before me!!! I've heard some tales of the back room and my husband always had to go back and tell Dick some jokes!!

Bill George says

Although not miners Palluca's extended their credit to our large family also. Dick and Raymond were always very good to us. My brother and I mowed their Mothers yard for years. Lots of good memories about growing up in Frontenac in late 50s and 60s; Palluca's store was a big part of those memories.

Cindy Stefanoni says

Bob had their spaghetti and meatballs today! He has coffee and eats there at least once a week! We also have to take their meatballs and sauce to KC whenever we go because our grandkids love it! So happy Ethan has continued the history and culture of Palluccas ❤️

Stormy Carter says

I love coming to this store and not only enjoying the amazing food but also relaxing and socializing with many of the community members. The atmosphere is very relaxed and welcoming! Palluccas is a great place to meet up for lunch or shop and prepare meals at home! All of the staff are friendly and always ready to help you pick that perfect cut or to let you try something new!