Frank Ferraro started working for his family’s Canton bread bakery in 1956 and has never retired.
He bought a bankrupt restaurant called Hillbilly Haven at 3822 Navarre Road SW and transformed it into Ferraro’s Family Restaurant and Bakery, a 24-hour operation that has been expanded four times and employs 60 people.
Known for its home-cooked comfort food and array of tempting baked goods, Ferraro’s is a Canton landmark at this point which Ferraro co-owns with his wife of 40 years, Anne. “She works right here with me,” he said fondly. “I do the bookkeeping and pay the bills. Anne does the heavy lifting.”
Q. Ferraro’s is open 24 hours a day. How does that work out?
A. “There’s a lot of factories around here, a lot of those people get off around midnight and stop here. Through the week, I’ve got an overnight crew of three—a cook, dishwasher and server—but on the weekends, we’re very busy and I’ve got nine people on. We get quite a lot of people who come here after bars. I always say we’re the only place in Stark County where you can get pizza 24 hours a day.”
Q. Do you have a lot of regular customers?
A. “I’ve got people that eat here breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. I’ve got customers that come here for lunch, then come back with their families for supper. We have a lot of steadies that have been keeping us going all these years.”
Q. What can you tell me about your baking operation?
A. “Thirty percent of our business is baked goods. Dave Ricker, my head baker, has been here for 35 years; we have three other bakers. On the weekends, we bake all night. Through the week, they start at 5 in the morning. We do bread, buns, doughnuts, muffins, danish, over 30 varieties of pie. We do
elderberry, rhubarb, we do an apple raisin walnut. I have to be careful, I’m too fat.”
Q. What are some of your favorite menu items?
A. “We have Ferraro’s Spaghetti which is broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, chicken breast or shrimp or both over a bed of noodles with a garlic butter sauce. We have a 10-ounce pork steak that’s real well-flavored. We have an Italian tomato salad made when tomatoes are fresh and in season. We have fried green tomatoes—we go through a bushel a week of them. We do specials like stuffed peppers and pot pies and Yankee pot roast. Our omelets are super and really full.”
Q. What is the secret to your success?
A. “We’re a medium-priced family restaurant and we have terrific food. We have things that people love but don’t want to make themselves.”