Fino’s from the Hill is a family-owned, New York-style Italian Deli. Our specialty is awesome sandwiches on crusty French baguette bread. We also have 2 pasta specials each day, a soup, and several side items and desserts that change daily. Portions are huge and price is minimal. That’s how we have always done it.
In December 1990, Joann Johnson (maiden name Finocchiaro) decided Memphis had absolutely nowhere in town to shop for authentic Italian groceries. Joann’s parents immigrated to the US from Sicily and set up stake in “The Hill” district of St. Louis, MO. Joann moved to Memphis and always had trouble finding all of the Italian ingredients she needed to just make a simple Italian dinner. So, she started Fino’s Italian Grocery.
While Fino’s (pronounced FIN-OHS) started out as mostly a grocery store, it quickly evolved into a grocery & deli with the addition of sandwiches and homemade desserts – and, thus, a few tables for dining in. Twenty years later, Fino’s had morphed into a 43-seat deli with about 1/3 of the floor space dedicated to grocery shelves for specialty Italian items available nowhere else in Memphis. In those 20 years, Fino’s grew into what we like to call a “Memphis institution” – a hidden little gem in Midtown that everyone had heard about, but not everyone had tried. Those “in the know” were rewarded with a food addiction caused by the crusty bread, the homemade olive tapenades, our specialty marinated tomato/onion dressing for the sandwiches, and specialty Italian meats imported directly from Volpi on “The Hill” in St. Louis.
After 20 years of building a loyal following, Joann was ready to call it quits, retire, and either sell Fino’s off or just close it. That’s where I come in.
In 1997, I was introduced to Fino’s and their awesome sandwiches. I was always a loyal customer even when I moved away from Memphis for about a year. In early 2008, Joann told me that she was ready to retire and she wasn’t sure what was going to come of Fino’s. I had been bugging her for about 8 years (mostly jokingly) about letting me open a 2nd location in East Memphis. She kept saying no. So, on that day in 2008, Joann’s response to my 2nd-location inquiry was, “Why would you want to do that when you could have THIS place?” Basically she offered to sell me her baby – Fino’s. One week later, I told her I was going to buy the place from her. One year later, the bank finally said yes, and in November 2009 I took over ownership of Fino’s from the Hill.
All of the staff stayed on board, all of the food stayed the same, and we look forward to another 20+ years of success that Joann started and built with her vision and hard work.
Jerry Wilson, Jr.
Fino’s from the Hill