About Premier Produce
Back in 1995 the city was gleaming with the opening of Jacob's Field and rebirth of the Cleveland Indians. The new home and leadership were putting even a wider smile on chief Wahoo's face. A fresh start, a new outlook, and a dream that was within reach. Around the same time the foundation was being built for another business, Premier Produce.
At 3:30am every morning, a little less than two miles from home plate, two young men, Tony Anselmo and Anthony Rossi, were hand selecting the freshest produce Northern Ohio Food Terminal had to offer. Getting there this early was essential! They were the little guys and they needed to get first pick before any of the other supermarkets and large buyers bought everything up. They often parked next to each other and would share the day's top picks. At about 7:00am they would take their selections, load them into their vans/trucks and deliver them to the handful of restaurants that trusted them to find them the very best. They were running separate businesses but had the same beliefs.
Like his father, Nate Anselmo, Tony started working for his family's business at the West Side Market when he was 7 years old. Tony's grandfather started pedaling produce house to house when he came over from Sicily. Nate had one of the premium stands at the market and bought only the best because "your name is everything" he told Tony. The Anselmo name was one of the oldest names at the market and it had a reputation of quality. Often Nate would have a chef stop by the stand and marvel at his quality and ask him to deliver to the restaurant. After some persuading by the chefs, Nate started to deliver. Tony loved this because he got to see the end results of his father's produce. It inspired him to attend a culinary program in school and then work at some restaurants before coming back to his father's business. With this he decided with the combined knowledge of food and produce between him and his father, he wanted to expand the wholesale end of the business. At this time he met Anthony Rossi.
In 1987 after leaving college with no idea of where his life was headed, Anthony Rossi sat down with a group of his father's childhood friends who were in the wholesale produce business. They informed him of a handful of guys who were delivering produce to local restaurants with their own vans. Knowing that his father had many friends in the restaurant business Anthony decided this was something he would like to try. After convincing Pete Maisano, owner of Cleveland PM, into giving him a shot Anthony was on his way. With a $2,000.00 van and his Cleveland PM account Anthony's produce business had begun. With commitment to quality and service Anthony Rossi was on the same path as Tony Anselmo.
The city's restaurant scene was booming and restaurants were starting to pop up all over the city. Inner-city neighborhoods were now turning into culinary villages. Chef driven, eclectic smaller seat restaurants were replacing the old cold massive seat establishments. With this, both of the wholesale businesses started to flourish due to the reputation that the Anselmo family had, and the one Anthony Rossi was building.
As both businesses grew they started to rely on each other each day for more help. After sharing a small cooler space for about 2 years Tony and Anthony were buying together and routing together everyday.
Finally in 1998 they decided to put their heads together, combine forces and form Anselmo & Rossi's Premier Produce. Together they would try to build not the biggest produce company, but the best. Never substituting price for quality. Offering the largest variety of fresh produce from all over the world and using this regions greatest asset, the local farmer. Today they are the largest single purchaser of local Amish grown produce from Geauga County.
With these strong beliefs, dedication, and hard work Premier Produce has become the leader in servicing the needs of chefs at over 150 fine restaurants, colleges, caterers, hotels, and all of Cleveland's sporting venues. Daily Premier Produce trucks travel throughout North East Ohio delivering the freshest produce in town. Whether it is organic, baby, micro, mini, conventional, exotic, ethnic, processed, juiced, pureed, or just your basic potato they have it. When celebrity chefs visit from abroad or publications need picture perfect produce, Premier is called upon to fill their needs. Whether it is a small 25 seat restaurant or an 80,000 seat stadium they fill those demands. Their roster reads like a "who's who" in Cleveland's food industry.
Today as the years passed, by the request of their customers, they have expanded their product line to include some other great items such as dairy, oils, vinegars, infused oils, ethnic specialties, olives, pastas, grains, spices, beans, cheeses, and deli meats from all over the world. Always remembering what built their reputation and name for demanding the highest grade of quality because their customers deserve it. This is what has made Premier Produce what it is today. Cleveland's leading supplier in dining.
Premier Produce & Specialty Foods is third party inspected by COOK and THURBER with semi-annual audits verifying HACCP and prerequisite programs such as Shipping and Receiving, Sanitation, Pest Control, Recall program, Food Security and Critical Control Points of the Cold Chain.