ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Long before there was color TV and even before bubble gum there was Gioia's.
"It opened in 1918. Charlie Gioia was the original owner he was from Northern Italy and it was just a corner market," explains Alex Donley.
A corner market at Daggett and Macklind that quickly cornered the market on hot salami.
"I can't tell you what's in it, but it's got a mixture of pork and beef in it and then we stuff it and hang it overnight," Donley says.
It's a secret recipe that was passed over to Alex Donley's family when his dad bought the place from the Gioia family in 1980.
"The recipe has always stayed the same. We've never written it down so me and mom can't fly on a plane together," Donley jokes.
As soon as he was tall enough he was in the kitchen helping.
"The casing that the hot salami's in, I was in charge of cleaning those. That's a character builder," Donley explains.
And these days they're selling the deliciously different deli meat well, like hot salami I suppose.
"Hot salami," a customer says stepping up to the counter.
"1,000 pounds is about standard, which is about 2,000 sandwiches a week," Donley points out.
That's between 150 and 200 sandwiches a day which might lead you to believe Donley and his crew get sick of hot salami.
"No, no you can't get sick of hot salami! The Gioia brothers used to call it penicillin cause they said it can cure anything," adds Donley.
They might have been on to something because business certainly isn't hurting.
Gioia's Deli is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm and Saturday from 9am to 3pm.