The ability to simply refuse to compromise the quality of its ingredients: This is the Di Lisio’s defense in a marketplace that often is focused on price and rebates.
“We just had a scenario in which we were almost going to be replaced by a competitor who was willing to buy its way onto distributors’ shelves,” said Lou Di Lisio, owner of Casa Di Lisio sauces. “However, when they looked at the salt content of our competition, it was 10 times our salt content. In the meantime with the change in laws, there was actually a low-sodium ban in place. So we ended up keeping the business.”
And that doesn’t happen once but all the time, for this company which provides delicious, fresh sauces with only the highest quality ingredients for foodservice operations.
“For us the bottom line is and will always be: if you taste our product, you will see the difference instantly,” Di Lisio added. “Today diners are so much more demanding. With the taste bar being raised across so many categories of foodservice, we ensure that the discerning operator will continue to demand the Casa DiLisio brand by name.”
The Di Lisios, who started their company from scratch in Connecticut in 1973, were on vacation when they fell in love with a scampi sauce at the hotel where they were staying. “We asked for the recipe and the chef refused,” Di Lisio explained. “So we came home and my wife and I went to work trying to recreate the sauce for us to enjoy and share with family and friends. We made it from scratch so we knew that, to get the right flavor, only the highest quality ingredients would enable us to create it.”
So Lou and Lucy Di Lisio started Casa DiLisio Products with a French-style scampi sauce, later called Sauce Provencal. Known for being the first company to sell frozen pesto sauce to the foodservice marketplace, that the firm broke new ground when they launched a sauce that combined the highest quality basil pesto with pine nuts, according to the Di Lisios, who proudly proclaim that they continue to be the only manufacturer who uses only the freshest ingredients in its pesto sauce.
The Di Lisios have never skimped. “Our competitors often use processed ingredients. Our approach is very simple. We do tastings for our distributor sales teams with our product. In each case, the room goes quickly silent because the salesperson who is in front of the chef every day knows that their customer simply will accept nothing less than Casa Di Lisio quality,” Di Lisio stated.
Casa Di Lisio Products are made with economy in mind. While there is no trifling with the ingredients, they save time for chefs because they are frozen. “The bumps in the economy have made our firm more valuable to our customers,” asserted Di Lisio. “In many cases, there have been major cutbacks in the kitchen so a chef who used to be able to make large quantities of fresh sauces 10 years ago, simply doesn’t have the manpower to support that today. So our sauces enable the chef to maintain consistency and quality.”
The sauces are also gluten-free and the company created four vegan products before it was a hot topic. “This has enabled us to be a major attraction to buyers in the healthcare and college and university segment,” Lou Di Lisio continued. The sauces are freshly made by hand 52 weeks a year, in small quantities, then frozen immediately to preserve their delicate, unique flavor and consistency.
Food allergies, too, are a concern for foodservice establishments. “Our nut-free basil pesto sauce allows a foodservice operator to serve fresh basil pesto without the concerns of the allergy issue,” added Linda Di Lisio, the firm’s Director of Marketing and Sales.
Last year Casa Di Lisio produced and sold over 750 tons of pesto sauce. Its commitment to quality led to the American Culinary Federation awarding the nation’s only Gold Certification to its pesto sauces. In addition, its Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (VEGAN), Fire Roasted Red Pepper Pesto (VEGAN), Puttanesca Sauce, Cilantro Pesto, Creamy Alfredo, Roasted Garlic (VEGAN), White Clam Sauce, Walnut Pesto, Sauce Provencal and Napolitano Tomato Sauce and Basil Pesto without Nuts have all won Gold Medals.
The expansion of the line has been driven by Di Lisio’s vision for continually creating new menu solutions for the firm’s customer base. This has included a new breed of pizza chains that are using Casa Di Lisio sauces to create signature pies and the launch of gourmet sandwiches by a major national c-store chain.
“Today the line’s importance for the foodservice operator has grown dramatically as a more educated dining patron demands consistent quality,” pointed out Di Lisio. “This is especially true in Metro New York where more competitive real estate prices have enabled major chains to compete with the Tri-State area’s traditional base of independent restaurateurs. We don’t care about the price of ingredients. We use only the best. Quality is our top commitment.”
Contact Casa Di Lisio to learn how they can help your foodservice business. Call 914-666-5021 or 800-247-4199, email them at