Joe Tonino’s pitching means that for a third year, his abilities will be front and center for the baseball home opener of the Reno Aces.
He’s not the opening-day pitcher. He’s the man behind Carson City’s The Sausage Factory, supplier of the Aces’ ballpark’s official hot dogs and sausages. He pitches his products with quiet passion.
“This will be our third year,” Tonino said Wednesday, exhibiting pride that the Aces are on board. Speaking at his business office and factory in Carson City, he added, “I’m just happy that the Reno Aces are supporting a local company.”
He said the family sausage business traces back to northern Italy and northern New Jersey and has been in Northern Nevada since 1968, when his father came to Carson City. He said he moved to Carson City to run the business in the 1990s and loves it here.
“My uncle started it,” he said. Tonino touts his products as being a cut above the competition. He said that eventually led the Aces to bring in the company’s hot dogs and sausages, but two years after beginning Triple A ball in the Reno ballpark. He said the Aces wanted the products right away, but had to be persuaded because the products cost more.
“We’re the upper echelon of the industry,” he said. “We don’t use trim and byproducts.”
The pork, beef, chicken and turkey products cover the gamut of hot dogs, sausages, bratwursts and the like, many old country standards from central Europe, Italy, the Basque country of France and Spain, and Portugal. For example, The Sausage Factory features such favorites as chorizo, linguisa, mild Italian, Polish, andouille, German-style beer bratwurst, kielbase rope, knockwurst and corned-beef brisket sausage.
Tonino offers brisket beef hot dogs, pork and beef combo hot dogs, garlic and old-fashioned frankfurters, hams, pastrami roast beef, bologna and Canadian bacon.
The Reno ballclub features what is called the Aces pork and beef dog, as well as an brisket beef dog, and sells various of the sausage options on the concourse along the first-base line at the park.
Last year, Tonino said, 23,000 pounds of his products were supplied for the Aces games.
This year for the opening home games, which begin at 6:35 p.m. today, The Sausage Factory already has sent 4,500 pounds of inventory for fans to start enjoying.
Tonino declined to share how many thousands of pounds he supplies to others through Sierra Meat Co. of Reno, but he said he stocks dining establishments in Reno, Tahoe, Las Vegas and Northern California. He also provides it at his factory store in Carson City and for retail customers through Scolari’s Food and Drug stores based in Sparks, which have grocery outlets in Nevada and California.