Walk in to a flood of blended aromas. This is the tradition of Dioguardi’s Italian Foods, a 90-plus-year-old best-kept secret for foodies. Almost nothing has changed at this grocery except the date on the calendar. Mama was the saleswoman, Papa the sausage maker and the stand-up guy to her jokes.

“He has the softest hands in town,” she’d tell all, oblivious to Papa’s blushing.

Years of grinding pork, pepper and fennel seeds daily in exactly the right blend did that. The flavors of Dioguardi’s still are “exactly Italian.” The red sauce is Mama’s recipe. You know it’s homemade—it comes in quart Mason jars, refrigerated. The LaMolisana pasta and Sidani’s pesto and vinegars and imported olive oils beckon. The deli of meats and imported cheeses waits to be discovered.




  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground thyme


Mix pork, onion and garlic. Combine remaining ingredients and add. Shape into patties or meatballs.

3116 Market Ave. N.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon Sunday.

About The Author

Jim Hillibish

Jim Hillibish is a graduate of Kent State University and started at The Repository as a photographer and reporter. He has been a feature editor, Lifestyle editor and City Editor. He developed and launched cantonrep.com in 1996 and presently writes editorial columns and food and feature stories.

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