Thursday, April 23, 2009

Louie's P & R Deli (Herrin, IL)

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

-Salameats down South (IL)

You may remember a post I made back in October when I ate like a Roman King for two long, long days down in the IL, IN, KY Tri-State region. As if appetizers from the West Side Nut Club Fall Fest with a main course of Hog Heaven and a meat buffet for dessert in Owensboro, KY with some loose meats on the side wasn't enough eating for an extended family of 34 we needed more food. On day two it was time for a little change of pace from the BBQ...but not the pork. Louie's P&R deli in Herrin, IL is a local treasure that has been supplying the locals with their one of a kind salameats and other amazing homemade sausages and Italian sandwiches for a very long time.

Since 1968

Back in the 80's there were still a few Italian corner delis left in Chicago but by the late 90's and now in 2009 there are barely any left. From the moment we stepped foot in the deli I knew it was something special, something that has become near extinct in Chicago. The family that runs Louie's has been doing it the same way since day one and its all homemade. To my best knowledge the salameat sausage is an old family recipe that they have been using since before the store even opened. They stuff salami (maybe) and other meats in natural casing creating a very memorable sausage experience. If you look around the internet there is very little information about salameats. If anyone has any information on this amazing local treasure please leave me a comment with your knowledge of it. All I know is that these salameats sandwiches are five star roadfood eats. Got it? Good.

Side of the deli

Fresh sassage

Louie's signature sandwich: salameat served on fresh baked bread with mustard and onions

This sandwich pictured below isn't on the menu but its their famous salameat wrapped in pepperoni and prosciutto covered in homemade red sauce and served with a slice of provolone and peperochinni's on homemade fresh baked bread. You will call it the "Don Barzinini". The town of Herrin had a real Italian presence from the Italian immigrants who came in the early century for mining work and was my favorite little town on the trip. The Italian tradition can be felt pretty heavily in this small town of 12,000. Frank Sinatra was a performer at the city's recreational facility and loved to play bocce ball at the park. There were a couple pizza shacks that looked like they had been around forever, real old school looking with those red and white square table cloths and I just kind of knew they were good and I haven't even been...yet.

Holy Shat! Whats that you ask? The Don Barzinini special

Louie's P & R Deli
120 E Walnut St
Herrin, IL 62948
(618) 942-3394
Herrin Italian Fest


Unknown said...

25 years ago I worked at the local Coca Cola plant in Herrin and 3 or four times a week went to Louies to get a sandwich and chips for lunch. I tell you it was great. Louie and his sons Chris and Tony were the nicest people around. In about 3 weeks will be going back down to Herrin for the first time in about 15 years and my first stop will be Louis P and R. Dave "Coke" Bauer

Anonymous said...

Louie's P&R is a local legend that hasn't dimmed one bit. It's worth the trip to experience their fresh Italian deli meat, which is second to none. No chain store can touch what they do or how they do it.

Anonymous said...

My Father, Angelo Lualdi, was born and grew up in Herrin. Every year in the fall we would make the trip from New York state to Herrin to visit the relatives. We would drive 2 days and when we would arrive in Herrin our very first stop would be at Louie's to get salameats and the next place would be to get cream horns at the bakery. I am now 63 years old and can still remember the taste to this day. I have never had anything as good as those salameats. I hope someday before long I can return there.

Anonymous said...

Wow I an American living overseas serving our country and I looked up Louies for some memories and found your awesome post. Thanks!

donnamarlow said...

My great grandpa Felix Merlo was a butcher and worked at Detomassi and Ruggeri Meat shop in Colp...this was the beginning of Louie's P and R... it started out as D and R....then sometime down the road another memeber of our family-the Parigi's- bought in hence the P and R. Last Christmas I gave Tony an original iron hook that hung in the store in colp in the early 1900's.... I loves me the P & R

Anonymous said...

As I understand it the salameat came from Lewis W. Frick, a coal miner and part-time butcher, who was friends with the Gualdoni's, Ruggeri's, and many other local shop keepers in the early 1920's Mr. Frick was my grandfather and my earliest memories were making salameats at our annual family reunions. We don't have reunions annually any more but we are planning one for June and we will again be making salameats.

Unknown said...

I was trying to explain a salameat to a friend of mine the other day. Man, I miss Louie's P & R. But the salameat HAS to be on the Merquette bun that Louie's has made to go with it. Throw in a tub of the green olives. Food of the Gods. We used to buy the 5 gallon plastic bucket of the them. Salameat's on Merquette buns (have to get them early or they are sold out by mid-morning)I like mine with a slice of provolone, onions, mustard, tub of green olives, on the grill, ice cold beer after a hard day fishing Devil's Kitchen, Crab Orchard lake on a hot and humid Southern Illinois summer day. Life gets no better no better than that. I still order Italian Beef mix from their website Http:// Chris and Tony even throw a couple packets in free. But not the same without the Merquettes! One year a buddy and I took a grill and 2 coolers full of salameats and grilled them on the infield on Pole Day at the Indy Motor Speedway and everyday drew to us like flies asking what smells so good. We were trading them for beer and giving them away...the rest is history.


Ed H.

Anonymous said...

Louie's P&R in Down Town Herrin started off as 4 stores in the late 1800's.The name of the four stores were orginally D&R, (Detomassi and Ruggeri). 3 stores were in Herrin and one was in Colp. One of the stores opened where Dominos pizza is now. Same location different building, after Marks bakery closed Dominos bought this location and built a different building). This location was called "Babes Market". Babe Garvalia bought this share of the business. It closed in 1994.
The other 3, the one in Colp was operated by Louie Quagila until about 1968 when it burned. The other two, were in Herrin. One was across where the Herrin Security bank is. It has since been torn down and the locksmith building is there.
The other location that is still open was behind Baldwin Piano in a row of old buildings ever since opening at that location. The current store that is open moved from there to 120 E. Walnut Street. It has been in the Gualdoni Family since about 1958 when Louie Gualdoni and another worker for P&R named Rosie (I forgot her last name) bought it. It moved in 1968 to the current location, Rosie retired from being one of the partners and went on to work for Louie. Now Louie's son Tony owns the last P&R market.
The Market took the name in 1950 after Frank Datomassi sold his share to Charlie Parigi.Then in 1957 or 1958 Charlie Parigi and Emil Ruggeri sold all of their shares to employees to keep the stores open. Now only one stands today but P&R market has a lot of history.It is Herrin's only Deli. It is a wonderful place.

Anonymous said...

I am 52 years old now and from an Italian immigrant family who settled in Murphysboro, IL, about 25 miles from Herrin, and, Louie's P&R Market. For as long as I can remember, I have wonderful memories of going to Louie's. The scents and the look inside of the store were nothing like, say the A&P or Kroger's. It is such a special place. To everyone who ever visits Southern Illinois - find time to go to Louie's. It will be a one-of-a-kind experience. They now have an area where you can sit & eat right in the store. They have their own Italian beef, fresh Italian deli meats, muffalettas, tiramisu, and on and on. Long live Louie's P&R Market!

Denise said...

I was raised in Johnston City and have family in Herrin so we had Salameats from time to time when I was growing up. Had Salameats for Thanksgiving this year. My sister brought some with her when she came for a visit. Didn't know that there was a website for this :) Wanted to see about getting some Salameats shipped to me. My daughter try to remember to bring some home (Bloomington, Il)after a visit there. Love the new decor with a place to eat in now. People there are so friendly too! Love it all!!

Anonymous said...

My dad, Paul Wooten, is bringing 10 lbs of Salameats with him for us kids. I can't wait for Saturday morning when we have salameat sandwiches and a beer for breakfast!! Love you, Dad!!! <3

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Anonymous said...

Came to Denver Colorado for Christmas with my son and his family. I got a panicked phone call asking that I bring salameats from louie's. Told him to calm down already bought and in the freezer. The small things your miss from home.


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