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Italian foods in Kansas

People from Italy were among those to join the mining workforce in the Crawford County area. Several local Italian businesses restaurants were begun in the early 1900s in Frontenac Bakery, which continue to operate more than 100 years later.

George Vacca was a baker in Italy before he began working in the southeast Kansas coal mines. After injuring his knee in a mining accident, he opened Frontenac Bakery in 1900, using the same family recipe for hard crust bread that he had used in Italy. Four years later he moved the bakery where it stands today and built a brick oven that could accommodate 250 loaves at once.

Vacca’s daughter and her husband took over the bakery in 1944, and passed it on to their son and his wife in 1969. The family sold the bakery in 1997. Every time the bakery changed hands, the recipe was passed along. Frontenac Bakery produces 500 to 700 loaves of bread every day, baked in the same brick oven. It developed a reputation for baked bread and large cinnamon rolls, breadsticks, dinner rolls, stuffing, and bread crumbs. The bakery continues to supply local grocery stores and restaurants.

Attilio Pallucca was an immigrant from San Pellegrino in Italy who moved to southeast Kansas. He and his business partner, Enrico Moriconi, opened a meat market in Frontenac in 1912. Pallucca purchased Moriconi’s share, and the business was passed down through generations. The market gained a reputation for its Italian sausage.

Frank and Josie Saporito moved to the United States in 1904 to find mining jobs near Crawford and Cherokee counties. They brought with them old-world recipes from Italy. Their grandson later opened a restaurant in Scammon and began to serve some of the family’s favorite recipes. These included fresh pasta for lasagna, ravioli, and spaghetti, plus a signature sauce.

Entry: Italian foods in Kansas

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: October 2016

Date Modified: October 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.