The sausage fest will continue at The Sausage Factory according to the old-school restaurant’s longtime owners, the Azzolino family. It looked like as if the 50-year-old red sauce joint were on the chopping block when that family put the mixed-use Victorian building at 517 Castro Street, which they own, on the market last year. But a new owner from within their own ranks, Mario Azzolino, has emerged to take the helm of the restaurant.
Later this month, it will close briefly, reopening in March with a light refresh — there’s some dust behind the hundreds of hanging picture frames, Mario says. He’ll also pare down the menu to highlight favorite items and add a new POS system, bringing the business into the 21st century.
The Sausage Factory’s name — a historical reference rather than some crude innuendo — recalls an actual sausage factory that operated on the premises, its smoking rooms and grates still visible in the building. Mario Azzolino’s uncle, Tony Azzolino, took over the restaurant in the late ‘70s, transferring ownership to his son and brother 15 years ago. Just as they were looking to leave the restaurant business, Mario wanted in — not lease because he’s seen so many historic businesses come and go. “I’m an SF native, so I’ve seen that many times,” he tells Eater SF.
“I’ve been in the restaurant for a few months now, just kinda helping out, and assessing everything,” says Azzolino. “There are tons of customers who tell me how they’ve been coming there for 30 or 40 years. A lot of the wait staff has been there that long, too.”