'King of the Sausage' reigns on 18th Avenue

Forty years in, the King of the Sausage still reigns on 18th Avenue.

Bari Pork Store, which took on this regal nickname at some moment in the now-unremembered past, is the last salumeria standing on the Bensonhurst retail corridor.

“Thirty-five years ago, there were five of us on the avenue,” recalled Sicilian-born Tony Turrigiano, who co-owns the shop at 6319 18th Ave.

It concentrates on Italian specialty meats and offers up tempting prepared dishes like fried artichoke hearts and hot antipasti.

Tony Turrigiano presides over the pork shop at 6319 18th Ave. Fine swine, seen in a mirror over his shoulder, are just hanging around.

Brooklyn artisanal food – the Old World version of it – abounds. The Bari crew arrives at 7 a.m. to make mozzarella, or 5 a.m. around Christmas and Easter. Sausage is made onsite too, and even if your appetite trends towards vegetarian, it's gorgeous. One version is seasoned with cheese and parsley; another, made for summer barbecue season, has onions and peppers in it.

“We pay rent – that's the hardest part,” said Turrigiano, 69, who lives in Bensonhurst – and walks to work. “The rent and Con Edison, they're our biggest bills.”

Who would want to live in a world without fresh-made mozzarella?

He wouldn't disclose what he's paying. The going rate these days on 18th Avenue is around $35 to $45 per square foot. He hopes to be able to stay put maybe 10 more years, then he might want to retire.

A decade ago, he and store co-owner George Firrantello looked for a retail building to buy, but found them too expensive even then.

The building that houses the popular pork shop belongs to Bensonhurst resident Chris Vellios, who owns it through an LLC, city Finance Department records indicate.