DALLAS — Jimmy's Food Store is one of Dallas' most treasured hidden gems. The tiny market on the corner of Bryan and Fitzhugh in East Dallas has been serving customers for my than 50 years, specializing in imported Italian goods that you can't find anywhere else.
Mike Dicarlo and his brother Paul took over the operation from their father and they've continued the tradition of delivering authenticity to Dallas.
"It's important to our family because this is what we do," Mike DiCarlo said.
Paul Dicarlo is the foodie of the two, traveling to Italy to procure rare Italian wines for the store and delicious foods. Mike Dicarlo focuses on the local, going to the farmers market several times a week for fresh produce to sell and sourcing Texas based products as well.
"We keep it simple, authentic Italian food but I also want those products that come from our state. I found the best barbecue sauce ever and had to put it on our shelves," Mike DiCarlo said.
Most of the staff at Jimmy's have been there for decades.
Eric Tatum first started at the shop when he was a teenager. He left for a while to play football in college and then serve as a Dallas police officer for ten years.
But then he came back and now oversees the homemade sausages and meats, many of which you can't get anywhere else in Dallas or even Texas.
"We had one woman come in here and when she saw that we had this one kind of sausage she started to dance. She had been shipping it in from New Jersey for years and she finally found it here," Tatum said.
If it isn't shipped in from Italy or the east coast it's handmade in the Jimmy's kitchen. Jimmy's sells thousands of homemade lasagnas every month, especially over the holidays when they simply can't keep them in stock.
"It's become a tradition," Tatum said.
While a lot of people buy ingredients to take home, Jimmy's has become famous for their sandwich department, all made from fresh cuts of salami and deli meat carefully chosen.
Tatum says their top sellers are the meatball sub, Italian sausage roll and the muffaletta which can feed a family of four.
"We used to order the olive salad from New Orleans but they kept getting shut down because of all the storms. So then one of our young cooks made his own recipe and we can't keep it on the shelves," Tatum said.
Jimmy's is open Monday through Saturday and the staff loves spending time with customers to answer all their questions and help them find the perfect dinner or wine. That's why Mike Dicarlo suggests you avoid Saturday when the line can wind through the store.
"It's so busy on Saturday it's hard to give the kind of attention we like to everyone. On a weekday we'll talk to you for hours," Mike DiCarlo said.
Whatever time you decide to go, like generation before you, just know you will leave full.
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