Adventures in Akron: DeVitis Fine Italian Foods

Situated in Akron’s once-historically Italian North Hill neighborhood remains a throwback to bygone days.

Situated in Akron’s once-historically Italian North Hill neighborhood remains a throwback to bygone days.

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DeVitis Fine Italian Foods is the closest thing you’ll find to an old-fashioned Italian store, this side of New York City. Located on Tallmadge Avenue, near Route 8, it has been in the same location since 1960 when Frank DeVitis opened the place, following a previous 25 years in the fruits and vegetable business.

“It’s still a family owned business,” said Robert DeVitis, a grandson of Frank, who has worked at the store for 47 years.

Today, Robert and his brother, Anthony, and sister, Laura, are co-owners and operators. Robert’s father, Angelo, 85, and mother, Janet, still visit and help on occasion. And Robert’s son, Nicholas, is a fourth-generation employee.

To this day, the DeVitis store still carries fresh produce. But the bulk of its business comes from its deli, which features an array of cold cuts and cheeses, including imported provolone and prosciutto, and salad-type items, along with its homemade Italian sausage, which gets shipped to customers all over the country.

akron_devitis3Its prepared foods section includes lasagnas, eggplant parmesan and other homemade dishes, many finished off with its own red sauce. Each day of the week also features hot lunch selections, along with cold sandwiches. And DeVitis also makes party-style platters of everything from salads and cheeses to trays of rigatoni.

The rest of the store is filled with an assortment of wines, Italian ingredients and frozen items, such as Italian ices.

“Over the years, we’ve honed it down to all the good stuff,” said Robert DeVitis.

The key to its lasting success lies in DeVitis’ simplicity, he added. It’s one single location, where it’s common to see the owners in the store and working. That personal touch, he said, makes customers feel comfortable and at ease.

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Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
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