Sunday, September 21, 2014


Don Stephic waits in line with dozens of people to get a Volcano Italian Sausage Sandwich in Elkhart, Ind., on July 18, 2012. Volcano Pizza sells these sandwiches outside two days a year. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King, File) (AP)

More than 50 people waited in line outside to get a Volcano Italian Sausage Sandwich in Elkhart, Ind., on July 18, 2012. Volcano Pizza sells these sandwiches outside two days a year. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King) (AP)

Owner Fritz Campanello puts a fresh batch of sausage patties on one of the grills at Volcano Pizza’s Annual Sausage Cookout on July 20, 2011, at the Easy Shopping Plaza off East Jackson Street in Elkhart. Even with four grills going at lunch time, the cooks had trouble keeping up with the thousands of customers that stood in the heat to get the Italian sausage sandwiches available only two days a year. (Truth Photo By Elizabeth Frantz, File) (AP)
Annual Volcano sausage event is back
Posted on July 14, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

Wednesday and Thursday will be big days for Elkhartans who want a fresh taste of history and nostalgia.

The annual Volcano Sausage Sandwich Days will happen at Easy Shopping Place on July 17-18. Fritz Campanello, along with family and employees, will make and sell Italian sausage patties and grilled peppers and onion to serve on fresh-baked buns.

The sales will start at 10 a.m. both days. They’ll likely be sold out of sandwiches — thousands of them, though Campanello won’t say how many — by mid-afternoon.

People want Volcano Pizza, an Elkhart business since 1957, to make more of these. Campanello and others could make more sausage, but this is how many buns they can make in a day at the Concord location without closing. “I know people get upset, but you do what you can do,” he said.

This may be the 32nd year for the outdoor grills and tents to make the sandwiches. “Same stuff. Pretty much the same staff,” he said.

But this spring wasn’t business as usual. Campanello’s wife, Michelle, had an emergency appendectomy in Paris in May and won’t be working as hard this week as she continues to recover. Several deaths in the family were tough to deal with.

But the managers and staff pulled together and are making it happen, he said. “We’re going to pull it off,” he said.

His daughter Kimberly isn’t coming back from London, where she’s studying. “I’m not flying her home from London. She’s not that good,” Campanello joked.

His son Greg, who just got a doctorate in biochemistry, is coming back to help.

The sandwiches, which have a lovely smoky flavor from charcoal, will be $5.14 plus tax, up nine cents from last year.

The lines will be long. Campanello is urging people to wait in line, though some companies call in large orders. That’s a hard part to manage, he said.

These two days are an Elkhart tradition. People yearn for the flavors. And for two days a year, they can get them.

Ÿ Stirred closed on June 29 and didn’t reopen. It’s gone for good, according to owner Tanya Bleiler. She said last week that she tried to sell the restaurant at 115 E. Lexington Ave., Elkhart, but didn’t have a buyer. So she opted to focus on running The Daily Grind, the coffee shop next door.

Stirred, a sushi and martini bar that expanded its menu beyond both, opened in 2006 and was on the front edge of the sushi trend in Elkhart County.

Bleiler said the closing is a positive, and she’s excited about a new Grind menu too.

You can read more at blogs.etruth.com/diningalaking.

Ÿ Congrats to Joel Leichty, who won last week’s Six-Word Restaurant Review contest on the Dining A La King blog. He and others got tickets to the Greater Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church barbecue. Leichty’s entry on Los Primos in Goshen was, “Fish Tacos! (Only need two words.)” Other winners were Mike Hershberger, Christine Kennel, Pricilla Jamora and Garry Asmus.

Ÿ Readers were still buzzing last week about Elkhart drive-ins of days past. Sally Kimbel emailed to share memories of working at Checkley’s in the early 1970s. She said a fire caused by lightning prompted the family to move the business to the Curly Cone location on Beardsley Avenue.

Marjorie Corpe remembers the Root Beer Barrel, where the Bristol Street Cafe is now, as well as A & W Root Beer at Main and Sycamore streets and Dog n Suds on Bristol near Parkmor Plaza.

Ÿ Reader Lucille Long of Goshen wants to know where to get the best fried chicken now that Ma’s is closed in Michigan. “Beer is also required,” she said.

I said I’d put the question to the readers. So where do you find the best fried chicken?

Ÿ I haven’t written about Domaine de l’Anglade Winery’s connection to Elkhart yet, but a wine tasting is planned for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday with hors d’ouvres at McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk, 333 NIBCO Parkway, Elkhart. The event is free. Par la Mer Imports is sponsoring the event.

Ÿ Wineries of Indiana’s Northwest are starting a new WINE Tour, according to a press release. Fruit Hills Winery of Bristol joins six others to draw attention to wine from this part of the world. You can get more information at www.winetourin.com.

Marshall V. King is managing editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at mking@etruth.com, 574-296-5805, via Twitter and Instagram @hungrymarshall or the [URL]Dining A La King Facebook pag;[URL]e. His blog is at blogs.etruth.com/diningalaking.[/URL]