When it comes to sausage, one local family knows best. Since opening their doors in 1954, Azar Sausages Co. has seen the city of Jacksonville grow, and they’ve kept up with it, reigning as the city’s only local sausage company.
Founder John P. Azar was an immigrant from Lebanon to the States in 1924. He owned a small grocery and used that as the kickoff for his mouthwatering sausages. What was once a grocery store, quickly became a regulated plant. John’s son, Raymond, joined the team in 1960, and expanded the company nationally.
Chances are you’ve enjoyed one of Azar’s fine sausages, and you didn’t even know it. For several years now the company has been making the giant bratwursts served at the Jacksonville Suns games, and just recently, have won a bid to serve at the Jacksonville Armada FC games, the city’s brand-new NASL team. Many restaurants also put Azar sausage in their customer’s bellies including Hoptinger, Bono’s, Woody’s, Famous Amos, Cross Creek, County Cabin, Metro Diner and Beaches Diner. The sausage can also be found in Winn-Dixie stores.
Azar Sausage also reaches far outside of Jacksonville, as far south as the Bahamas and Aruba, and north to Georgia. Online orders reach much further.
All of this is quite remarkable, because the cards usually play against mom and pop companies like Azar Sausage, especially in a world constantly being dominated by the competition of big business.
“In this industry, you can’t survive if your business plan revolves around the actions of the larger national brands. While we don’t ignore their presence in the marketplace, we do continue to believe that the consumer demands the personal service, pride, and quality that comes with our family recipe of sausages,” John Azar, President of Azar, said.
The company’s current operations are managed by its third generation of Azars, brothers John and Philip. John, also known as the sausage Elvis, oversees the public relations and sales of the company while Philip manages the production.
Azar Sausage currently employees 23 people who are very much the heart and soul of the company. Working from 7 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. daily, they are able to clean, season, grind, and roll out 20,000 pounds of sausage a week, as well as 30,000 to 40,000 pounds of smoked meat a week. They also do custom orders, processing meat brought in from customers’ hunting trips. The original mild smoked sausage is the company’s most popular, but they have expanded their portfolio to include bratwurst, knockwurst, hot smoked sausage, polish sausage, breakfast links and an Andouille sausage that is quickly rising in popularity.
Azar sausage is located on the eastside of downtown at 719 E. Union St., just a few blocks from their original location. Everything is processed, packaged and shipped at the one location. They allow walk-ins daily and are located conveniently close to the stadium, so consider them for your next tailgate. Visit www.azarsausage.com for more info.