More than a Market

Izzo’s Market Content Block 5

Christmas at Concetta and Louis Izzo’s house.

Though she never became fluent in English, Concetta Izzo was “the brains behind the outfit,” according to her grandson, Louis Izzo.  Her garden in their spacious backyard supplied the table and the market with fresh vegetables and fruitAt Thanksgiving and Christmas, she hosted a holiday gathering of extended family and “strays” with nowhere to go. The table groaned with the weight of turkeys and the fresh pasta that she made and dried on the clothesline. Dessert featured cannoli and bowls heaped with cicerchiata, small balls of dough dipped in honey, along with San Pellegrino mineral water and anisette to aid digestion. 


Izzo’s Market carried Italian specialty foods, as well as staples. In the early years, customers scooped macaroni and crackers out of barrels and bought beer in kegs. The air was thick with the smell of Italian cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta, and balls of provolone, which hung from the ceiling dripping wax in summer. Cheeses and other specialty items like pepperoni, salami, mortadella, and sausage arrived from Boston. The market sourced much of its inventory from local businesses: cold cuts and hotdogs from McKenzie Meats, bread products from Fassetts Bakery in Burlington or the Star Bakery in Winooski, beverages from Farrell Distributing, a Lebanese-owned company, and many other items from Champlain Valley Fruit Company in Burlington.  






My brother…would talk about going in the Merola’s store down the street or Izzo’sAnd just a variety of Italian cheeses. This all came from Italy, and every so often they’d get calamari and bring in big tubs of calamari around Christmas time. And he says you could blindfold him and take him in any store and he could tell you where he was just from the smells, the cheeses, the cold cut meats. —Michel Allen, Lebanese neighbor and friend


Ronga Brothers Italian Grocers, Mulberry Street, New York, New York, c. 1943. Courtesy of Library of Congress.


Family photos courtesy of Louis Mario Izzo, unless otherwise noted.