If you’ve ever been to Elmwood’s Casa Di Pizza, you’ve also experienced the Buffalo food, hometown feel and ultimate fan experience.
As we’ve dug deeper into Sahlen’s expansion outside of WNY, we found another hot spot for Buffalo’s favorite hot dogs—this time, in the sunshine state.
Buffalo natives Joe Jacobbi Jr. and Kevin Mann spent several years learning the ropes of running a restaurant from Jacobbi’s father—the current owner of Casa Di Pizza on Buffalo’s Elmwood Avenue. The pizza shop–which opened in 1953–is one of the longest standing independent restaurants in Western New York.
After enduring several years of Buffalo’s brutal winters, they decided to relocate somewhere warmer. In 2004, the two settled in Bradenton, FL, where they opened Florida’s first Casa Di Pizza.
“For us, it was a tremendous opportunity to be able to bring Buffalo food to the South,” says Mann. “We quickly made a name for ourselves and ended up opening our Sarasota location in 2009.”
The two locations aren’t the exact same, however—the Bradenton location is smaller and has a corner neighborhood pizzeria feel. The Sarasota location, on the other hand, was thoroughly designed and is currently in the center of a huge shopping destination including hotels and a world class rowing site.
“We like the hometown feel,” Mann says. “It’s amazing how many relocated Buffalonians come through our doors.”
The restaurant’s pizza and wings are the most popular menu item, but hot dogs are asked for on a frequent basis—so much, that they had to originally rely on family members for the supply.
“We had such a demand for Sahlen’s hot dogs,” says Mann. “Any time a family member came to visit, I would have them bring 40 pounds down just so we could sell to our customers.”
Soon after, Mann and Jacobbi found a local distributer to hold their Sahlen’s products, given that they met the weight requirements (which was no problem at all for Casa Di Pizza). Now, both locations serve Sahlen’s ham, turkey and WNY’s favorite hot dogs.
You can find Sahlen’s dogs under its own menu section, titled, “Buffalo, NY favorites”—right next to roast beef on weck and stuffed pepper sandwiches.
“They’ve become a huge hit here in Florida,” says Mann. “When the locals stop in, they actually call them a ‘Buffalo hot dog’ which we all find pretty hilarious.”
Inside the restaurant, you can find Labatt Blue décor accenting the walls—alongside posters, themed clocks and memorabilia supporting the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills.
With football season right around the corner, both Casa Di Pizza locations make sure there are plenty of Bills fans watching the game. They have created a Buffalo-fanatic atmosphere on Sundays, where WNY fans and natives can feel at home.
“We’ve created the experience, but also came up with some specials, too” says Mann. “We have great game day specials like ‘The 716’–a platter of all Buffalo favorites, featuring wings, a beef-on-weck slider and a Sahlen’s hot dog.”
Did we mention they’ve made the list of Top 100 Independent Pizzerias in the country the last five years in a row?
Take a look at endless meal options on their extensive menu. And if you’re ever in the area, stop in and enjoy a little bit of Buffalove in sunny Florida!