Local Vendor Spotlight: John Simi’s Saporito Fine Pasta Co.
Plan on getting pasta during your next dinner date at a local restaurant? There is a good chance it came from John Simi’s pasta company in Redwood City!
Fettuccine, mostaccioli, ravioli, fusilli, tortellone, pappardelle, linguini…don’t you just love the delicate flavor of fresh pasta?
Sixteen years ago, John Simi, a veteran wine broker, took advantage of an opportunity to transition from the wine business to the fresh pasta business. Now, he owns and operates the very successful Redwood City-based fresh pasta business called Saporito Fine Pasta, catering to more northern California restaurants and specialty food stores than he can count.
“I did the majority of the footwork and sales myself in the beginning, but as we grew, there was a need to contract with a distributor,” Simi said. “I do, though, continue to personally deliver the pastas to a few local specialty stores, such as Sigona’s.”
“I remember when John came in to purchase a few ingredients for his ravioli and asked if we’d consider selling his product,” said John Nava, Sigona’s specialty foods buyer. “He gave me a sample and I said, ‘Hey man, these taste just like the ravioli at some of the best restaurants around!’ and he smiled and said, ‘well they should because I deliver ravioli to most of the restaurants on the peninsula!'”
“They’re a great group of people; a great family,” said Simi. “The brothers have always been good to ask how I’m doing and how business is going when I make deliveries. Sigona’s was the first retail outlet to sell my product.”
If you’ve been shopping at for Sigona’s a while now, you’ve likely tried one of our signature marinaras. Saporito pasta the motivation behind the development of our marinara – our goal was to create a high-quality marinara that would compliment Simi’s fresh pasta and, as a result, the Old World variety was born.
Having been in the business for more than a decade now, you’d think Simi would whip out an answer to our next question without hesitation, but he was stumped.
“So,” we asked. “What’s your favorite cut or filled pasta?”
“Oh…oh wow…that’s a great question,” Simi said. “Well, my favorite is more of a ‘sleeper,’ really. I like the potato leek ravioli; the filler makes for a more comfort-food type ravioli because it pairs well with meat. It’s also a great time of year for using local produce, such as root vegetables like beets, which I buy from Robbie [Sigona], along with some of the other fresh, local ingredients we use.”
Saporito Fine Pasta Co. makes about 15-20 different pasta fillers, as well as custom flavors for novelty shops or restaurants. For example, our next coupon offer (Oct. 14) will be a Saporito ravioli stuffed with Niman Ranch sausage in celebration of Oktoberfest! You don’t want to miss it!
As for what is a top seller, Simi named the most-popular filler without hesitation.
“The spinach and cheese ravioli has always been a winner; it alone is responsible for ten percent of our sales.”
That certainly does ring true in our stores: the spinach and cheese ravioli is a hit with our customers, as well as the papperdelle and egg lasagna cut pastas. We’re constantly refilling their slots on our shelves.
Haven’t tried Saporito pasta before? Well, you’re in luck! Remember to print out and bring in the coupon next week to receive your very own package of butternut squash ravioli and gourmet plugra butter with your purchase of $30+. You’ll be set for a delicious meal!