2018 Southern & Coastal Maine

Page 29



Portland’s Pat’s Meat Market Five generations have made the neighborhood market a success by Brian Swartz


oots can run deep in Portland, where five generations of the Vacchiano family have operated Pat’s Meat Market for the past century. Born in Italy circa 1876, Giosuelo Vacchiano emigrated to the United States in 1901 and settled in Portland’s Little Italy. According to great-great grandson Nick Vacchiano, “Big Joe” (as everyone knew him) came from Vecchiano, located near Pisa. Giosuelo married Rosina Sicuressa, and their son Pasquale (known as “Pat”) was born in Maine in 1908. In 1917 or 1918, Big Joe opened a meat market on India Street in Portland, under the Florence Hotel, which is now Micucci’s Market. Learning the trade from his father, Pat opened his own market on Free Street. The market was called Sanitary Meat Market. A few years later he relocated his business to Congress Street, on the cor-

ner of Washington Avenue, and called it Pat’s. Pat married Lillian Nelson and moved Pat’s Meat Market in 1951 to 484 Stevens Avenue in Deering Center, its current location. That same year, Pat’s son, Joe, joined him in the business after attending Bowdoin College. Nick described Joseph (his grandfather) as “a really humble person” who successfully “reached across different communities. He was Italian, and he made friends with everybody; that’s our secret, appealing to everyone.” According to Nick, Joe Vacchiano “went to the Olympic trials and held the world’s unofficial record for the shot put. He injured himself, so he couldn’t participate.” Joe worked at Pat’s Meat Market from 1951 to 2001 and owned the market until giving it to his son Jaime in 1986. Joe died in mid-January 2014 just before Nick’s twin sons, Joe and Gus, were born.

MEAT MARKET Quality meats cut fresh daily Homemade sausages Custom orders are our specialty GROCERY STORE Fresh Produce & groceries Fine wine & local craft beer DELICATESSEN Cold cuts & fine cheeses Homemade soups Sandwiches & salads Serving Portland for over 100 years! 207-772-3961 484 Stevens Avenue, Portland www.patsmeatmart.com

Elliot and Nick Vacchiano have worked with their father at Pat’s Meat Market for the last 20 years. Described by Nick as a “neighborhood grocery store,” Pat’s represents the best of what once was a neighborhood staple throughout Portland. “There were a lot of us, little meat markets and butchers, grocery stores like A&P,” Nick said. “We are one of the last ones. There is a lot of history here, as far as how many other little grocery stores disappeared in the 1960s” as Americans’ grocery-shopping habits changed. “We are a full grocery store, specializing in cuts of meat of better value and price than you find elsewhere,” Nick said. “We pretty much have everything” in terms of groceries, and Pat’s serves lunch in its deli. As they have for the last 100 years, Pat’s Meat Market customers relish the quality of the food items available at the market and the level of customer service found there.

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