[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”396″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Barbecue legends
Want good eatin’? Who ya gonna call?
How it all started: The family business that’s synonymous with fund-raising barbecues in Western New York has its origins in a Truman-era brochure from the Cornell Cooperative Extension.
A researcher from that organization developed a recipe and method for barbecuing that had an ulterior motive: encouraging poultry production in New York state. The extension’s recipe included eggs — along with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and oil.
Thomas and Eleanor Chiavetta, poultry farmers who’d learned about the barbecuing method through the Erie County Farm and Home Center in East Aurora, modified the extension recipe — leaving out the eggs — to suit their taste.
“I always say that they put the Italian twist to it,” said the Chiavetta’s son, Peter.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” image=”397″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” img_link_large=””][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Company history: The Chiavettas started serving their chicken barbecues at weddings and banquets, on top of operating Chiavetta’s Churchside Farms. They employed their own system for setting up a grilling pit, using portable steel sides in place of the extension’s concrete blocks.
“I was always told that the first time my father cooked chicken was at the Farm and Home Center, and that would be 1951,”
Peter said. They charged just $2.50 a head for a typical wedding menu including lasagna, Italian sausage and barbecued chicken, he said.
The family started catering events like the Strawberry Festival in Brant and South Dayton Fire Co.’s annual Mother’s Day picnic. By 1957 the catering was going well enough to justify the purchase of a brand-new truck; two years later the family built a large kitchen for the business.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]But hungry customers hooked on the flavor of Chiavetta’s barbecued chicken wanted more: They wanted the marinade for themselves so they could make it at home.
“People would come up to us at barbecues with glass mayonnaise jars with steel lids,” Peter said, “and we would pour the sauce from our pails into their containers and sell it.”
A grocer in North Collins started selling the marinade in gallon jugs. The demand for the product was growing enough by the early 1980s that Paul wanted to start selling the product on the road.
But he had a formidable obstacle to overcome in his father.
“Paul and I snuck into the building because he didn’t want us bottling the product,” he said. “He didn’t think it was a good idea at the time.”
The brothers sold 250 cases of the sauce in their first year of bottling the product and 500 the next year, with steady growth after that. A few years later, Advantage Sales and Marketing signed on as broker, helping them build the list of grocers that carried Chiavetta’s Barbecue Marinade.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” image=”398″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” img_link_large=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]excerpted from from Buffalo Business First June 2002 and photos added from Chiavetta’s website.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]