The name “Cascarelli’s” has been in Albion during three centuries — 19th, 20th and 21st. This long legacy of service to the community had its humble beginnings with bananas, fruits, vegetables and peanuts from an Italian immigrant who came to Albion to make a living.
A long time ago, in an obscure town founded on the Forks of the Kalamazoo River, Robert Cascarelli came to Albion to open a fruit store on the far north end of Albion.Over the years, there were natural disasters, including the famous “100 Year Flood” that destroyed all of the property of the Cascarelli’s including their beloved peanut roasting machine. Cascarelli’s Redskins Peanuts were a favorite treat of visitors to Albion, and the family closely held its secret methods of making this delicious treat.
Robert Cascarelli moved his establishment to the heart of downtown Albion after the great flood, and began to expand his offerings to include candy and soda.
Robert’s son Louis took over the business, and after prohibition, began to serve alcohol and later sandwiches.In this view (1942), Louie Cascarelli stands behind the bar, and we can see the booths that are still there. A newspaper on the table describes the great Boston Fire of 1942. See more on the history posts page with some interesting incidents in the history of Cascarelli’s.
Robert Cascarelli operated his fruit store in the far north end store in the Parker – Kessler Block (old Knuth Furniture Store) at 109 N. Superior Street, where his family lived in the back. In March 1908, Albion experienced the worst flood in its history, on Saturday, March 7, 1908 the flood waters collapsed Cascarelli’s store and residence.
Robert and his family made a quick get away as the building and all their belongings fell into the river. Read more about the “100 Year Flood” in Albion in our History page. One of the most missed items was the original Cascarelli peanut roaster. In the 1960’s, this peanut roaster was found and returned to the Cascarelli family.
Robert moved his operation to 106-108 Porter Street, (currently the Albion Moose, where he remained from March 7, 1908 – January 7, 1909 until his move to our present location, 116 S. Superior Street.
An important business change took place Thursday evening January 7 when Bob Cascarelli, the fruit merchant, purchased the business of John Moll, the cigar manufacturer and dealer.
Bob Cascarelli will now have one of the best locations in the city and his many patrons will be glad to have him back on Superior Street which he left at the time the flood destroyed his location in the post office block.
Since Cascarelli’s was a fruit and candy store and not an alcoholic beverage establishment, it was not directly affected by the closings of saloons in town in the 1910’s. During prohibition in the 1920’s, ice cream and sodas were added to the offerings at Cascarelli’s. A soda fountain was added on the north side (which is now our present bar and waitress pick-up station).
When prohibition ended in 1933, Louis and his brother Frank converted the family business into a tavern. For two years, 1933- 1935, it was known as Cascarelli Brothers Tavern. Cascarelli’s remained exclusively a tavern throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Old style salami or canned corn beef on rye were the sandwiches of choice.
In 1970, Louis’ son James Cascarelli joined the team after four years in the military.
Jim began to change the business into a family restaurant serving foods from pizza to steaks.
Jim and his wife Nancy had three children; Erin, Matt and Dana. They all are involved with Cascarelli’s Albion in various ways.