St. Louis Proud: Urzi’s Italian Market

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 7:28 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Urzi’s Italian Market carries everything from homemade Italian sausage, olive salad, oils, wine, pasta and gelato.

The building and history of the market, which sits at Southwest Avenue and Magnolia, stands out for much more. The Urzi family has been serving St. Louisans for more than 95 years, and while a lot has changed, the hardworking labor of love from the Urzi family withstands the test of time.

History

It first opened in 1926 across the street from where it stands now, but in 1970 the market moved to it’s current spot at 5430 Southwest Avenue.

Fred Urzi purchased the business from his sister, who first opened the store. He delivered wholesale produce and poultry to restaurants, deli’s and markets. He also ran the retail store. Eventually his son, Joe helped out running the store, while he focused on the wholesale division.

Joe Urzi met his wife Diane in the 1970′s. She married into the proud Italian family in 1983 and the two raised their five children at the market.

Fred Urzi stands on the left outside Urzi's on The Hill along with his son, Joe,...
Fred Urzi stands on the left outside Urzi's on The Hill along with his son, Joe, daughter-in-law Diane and four of his 5 grandchildren.(The Urzi Family)

Joe Urzi died in August of 2006, but Diane and her children have kept his memory alive.

Family Recipes

You can still get your hands on some of the Urzi family classics like their original Salsiccia (Italian sausage).

With the original recipe calling for so many handfuls of this and so many ounces of that for so many pounds, it always works out, Diane Urzi said.

“There’s a lot of fennel in it which a lot of the old time Italians really love, and I’m not Italian but I love it too now,” she laughs.

While most Salsiccia is 100 percent pork, Urzi’s is part beef and part pork. If you’re making lasagna you don’t have to buy both because it’s already in their sausage and it shrinks less that way, she said.

Another Urzi staple is the family’s homemade olive salad and have no fear, there’s no olive pits inside it.

Diane’s lemon ice is one item you might not find because of how quick it tends to go. It took a lot of batches to finally perfect, but she did it, using 14 cups of fresh squeezed juice.

“It’s a lot of work, you have to squeeze a lot of fresh lemons and I think that’s what makes it taste so good, is there’s so much juice in it,” she said.

Monday through Saturday, you’ll find Diane and her children running the market.

“We’re here and we’re planning to stay and my children want to keep the store going even after I’m gone, so they’re helping me a lot now and I’m glad they’re here,” said Diane Urzi.