With a simple “Good night, everyone!!” Facebook post showed the Chimento family turned off the lights in Alcamo Market for the last time on November 11. twenty three.
Known for its mouthwatering sandwiches, groceries and Italian fare, Alcamo’s has been a must-stop in East Dearborn since 1972. Giovanni Chimento opened the store in 1952 at its original location on Fort Street in Detroit before moving to 4423 Schaefer. Died in 2018.
In a final exclusive interview with Press & Guide, Chimento’s daughter, Emily, said it was time to “slow life down a bit,” as she wrote in another piece.
“It’s been great. So many great years here, but we all decided, you know, I’d like to spend more time with my family,” she said. “I think it’s time to take a little breather, enjoy what we’ve created, sit back and observe things, and enjoy family time more than we’ve ever done before.”
The store officially closed the day before Thanksgiving, but reopened a few days before Christmas for those interested in purchasing store fixtures and other equipment. However, the family cookbook is not for sale.
Tucked away in an unassuming brick storefront off Michigan Avenue, Alcamo’s offers visitors a taste of the old country without needing to obtain a passport. The store sells homemade lasagna, sausage and arancini, and its shelves are stocked with familiar brands like Barilla, Cento and Lidia Bastianich.
Alcamo’s also offers an extensive wine and olive oil selection, as well as refrigerated and frozen meals, olive bars, coffee and tea, and other staples. Visitors from all over and around the country stock up for holiday gatherings or satisfy their everyday cravings at the one-of-a-kind market.
There’s no question customers have loved Alcamo’s deli counters for decades. The entire north wall of the store is lined with eye candy, including imported cheeses, salads, steaks, ribs and prepared foods. Here, Alcamo’s legendary sandwiches are made with a selection of deli meats and cheeses, piled high on soft bread.
While the closing of the Alcamo is a sad moment for its many fans, it is also a time to celebrate the longevity and achievements of the Chimento family. In the last days, many of them have become more than just customers, pouring into the store to reminisce, hug each other, and end up buying a sandwich or a pound of sausage.
Chimento and her family will miss interacting with customers, but not the 14-hour workday. She looks forward to traveling with her daughter, singer-songwriter Anissa Lea, another familiar face of Alcamo’s clients.
“I think the most important thing is that we work as a family, but it’s a team,” Lea said. “We work together because we love what we do and we cherish every moment we have in this place.”
The next chapter in the history of the Chimento family has yet to be written, but one thing is certain: they will not forget their past.
“We’re definitely a destination for many clients, traditions, memories and generations, and I just want to thank all the wonderful people who share their stories with us on Facebook,” Chimento said. “Please keep posting your stories on our Facebook page as Facebook pages will be part of history.”