On Monday Dec. 9, 1974, The Italian Gourmet opened in Vienna. With its gourmet Italian prepared foods and specialty hard goods, the shop drew customers from all over the DC area.
Today, Jeremy and Margaret Schottler own the store, and their two children can often be found "helping" in the store as well. Six days a week (the deli is closed on Sundays for family time), The Italian Gourmet, located at 505 Maple Ave. West, serves as a deli, gourmet food shop and caterer to the Vienna community.
After working at the store part-time during high school and college, Jeremy bought The Italian Gourmet in 1998, shortly after graduating from James Madison University. Jeremy combined his love of food and cooking with his business degree to this Vienna mainstay.
The Italian Gourmet sandwich menu lists over 20 choices, some of which have been on the menu since the beginning and some, like the tomato mozzarella, have been recently added. Countless regular customers come in and ask for their "usual," and Jeremy knows exactly what they want. Jeremy is always happy to meet new customers too and enjoys showing them around the store.
The kitchen at The Italian Gourmet stays busy, preparing entrees and sauces for the shop. "We don't make the pasta or bread, but we make pretty much everything else you see in the store," said Jeremy.
When asked about the store's direction over the next 40 years, Jeremy said he sees more customers buying pre-made meals.
Many busy Vienna families take home the refrigerated or frozen entrees for easy, delicious meals. The lasagna is a long time favorite, as are the pepperoni rolls. The Italian Gourmet also carries a wide selection of gourmet hard goods, including wines, olive oils, vinegars and sweet treats.
The Schottlers enjoy being part of the Vienna community and keeping this small business successful. "It's hard work, but it's rewarding," Jeremy said. "Our friends and regular customers make it worthwhile. I wouldn't want to do anything else."
What's your favorite item from The Italian Gourmet? What are your memories of The Italian Gourmet?
(Know a local business that has some news to share? Send your information to: MaryAnn.Barton@Patch.com)