One of the advantages of living in the capital of Cheektowaga is Camillo's Sloan Super Market.
Already known for its famous turduckens, we were intrigued to see the addition of Grandma Camillo’s Thanksgiving meatballs for the holidays. We stopped in to chat with Gaeton Camillo about meatballs and got a bigger story than we anticipated.
Sitting in what he calls his “command center” (a shoebox-sized office), Camillo told us the Thanksgiving meatballs are made with fresh ground turkey, dried cranberries, poultry seasoning and fresh sage, then stuffed with Camillo’s traditional stuffing.
Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?
“Last year I was bored and started playing around with ideas,” Camillo said. “I made these meatballs and gave them to the staff. They loved them so I added them this year.”
Camillo said the best way to enjoy the turkey meatballs is to bake them at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, then add them to gravy. (We used Williams-Sonoma's, available during the holidays only).
The meatballs are huge, so one, possibly two would feed the average person. Cost is $4.99 per pound.
But that’s not the end of the Sloan Super Market meatball narrative. We asked about Grandma Camillo, as we see her all-pork meatballs in the case all the time.
“My grandmother is 90. When I asked her how she made them she couldn’t tell me,” said Camillo. “I had to watch her one time and try to calculate the ingredients.”
Of course, he cannot give us the recipe. Nor the recipe for the market’s Gaetano meatballs (the market makes Gaetano sausage, too).
The meatballs are stuffed with smoked Gouda and bacon. At least we know that.
But here’s another secret, the market makes the sausage and meatballs (or provides meat blends) for many area restaurants.
“Grandma Camillo is everywhere. She’s sneaky like that,” laughed Camillo.
The list is impressive. These restaurants work with the market for their meats and meatballs:
- Mulberry Italian Ristorante (64 Jackson Ave., Lackawanna) gets a meatball blend and Gaetano bulk sausage for its famous lasagna that appeared on the Food Network’s "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."
- Mangia Ristorante & Caffe (4264 North Buffalo Road, Orchard Park) orders around 400 regular and 100 large meatballs per week; it also gets stuffed braciole and provolone basil sausage.
- The Italian Village (6354 Transit Road, Depew) gets Italian sausage.
- Ripa’s Restaurant (4218 Walden Ave., Lancaster) and Marinaro’s Larkin Tavern (131 Van Rensselaer St.) get meatballs.
- Cabaret (490 Pearl St.) orders a meatball blend.
- Charlie’s Boat Yard serves the Big Rex sausage named for Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan.
- The Riverstone Grill (971 East River Road, Grand Island) gets its 60-ounce bone-in prime rib for its famous Bone in the Stone.
- Polish Villa (1085 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga) gets pork chops. (In a funny twist, the Polish Villa supplies golumbki and barbecued hamburgers to the market.)
“We like to help each other out. We all have good relationships,” said Camillo.
Making a turducken
And about those turduckens? The market starts by deboning a turkey (leaving leg and wing bones). The cavity is layered with boneless duck breast (less greasy), boneless chicken breasts and stuffing.
Turduckens come with traditional homemade stuffing or one of four specialty stuffings — bacon, cheddar and onion; cornbread, apple, smoked Gouda and bacon; cornbread, cranberry and apricot; or apple, fresh sage and Gaetano’s specialty sausage.
Turduckens use a 12- to 15-pound turkey. (Bigger turkey upon requested.) Cost is $4.99 per pound with traditional stuffing, $5.99 per pound with specialty. Turduckens are at least 15 total pounds. The market would prefer three days notice to make a turducken.
When asked if they ever considered a bigger location to accommodate all that they do, Camillo said yes, but then added, “Why change something that isn’t broken?” True.
Sloan Super Market is located at 494 Reiman St. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.