September 8, 2012


Comando’s bottles its sauce

Cortland restaurant selling its signature sauce

SauceJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Comando’s restaurant owner Vince Fragnoli Jr. is bottling and selling his grandmother’s spaghetti sauce. His daughter Sophia, 5, is on the label.

Staff Reporter

When Vince Fragnoli Jr. dreams about the future, he sees trucks driving down the highway carrying his newly bottled spaghetti sauce to market.
On the side will be written “Comando’s” and inside will be jars of spaghetti sauce, marinara, minestrone and greens and beans, all with labels featuring his daughters Sophia, 5, and Olivia, 6 weeks.
Fragnoli, owner of Comando’s restaurant on Comando Ave. in Cortland, took a step toward his vision this week, bottling the spaghetti sauce his restaurant is known for.
“I always thought about bottling sauce,” Fragnoli said. “If this goes well, I’ll open my own bottling company.”
Fragnoli envisions creating the plant in Cortland.
Currently the sauce is bottled at Glen Industries in Watkins Glen.
The first run produced 25 cases, or about 80,000 gallons of sauce, Fragnoli said.
Comando’s Spaghetti Sauce will be available at Bill Brothers Farm & Market, Cortland Seafood, Anderson’s Farm Market and Fragnoli’s restaurant.
Nelson Farms, a food distributor based in Cazenovia, will stock the sauce in grocery stores throughout the state.
Fragnoli used his mother’s recipe with only slight variations for his bottled sauce, which is spicy but not hot, with the consistency of a puree,
“I go to the plant and make it myself because its a private recipe,” Fragnoli said.
Fragnoli expects to bottle and release his other products within two to three months.
Longtime customer Vladimir Dragan said that he enjoys the sauce at Comando’s about once a week.
“Well, it is a magical Italian sauce,” said Dragan, who owns Book Barn of the Finger Lakes in Dryden.
Dragan thinks that Fragnolis’ sauce should be more widely known, and expects it will be once he starts distributing it.
“There’s no sauce that I’ve ever had that can match the different levels of flavor,” he said.
Comando’s was first opened by Mary Comando, wife of Judge Albert Comando, who owned much of the property on the street. Fragnoli’s parents, Fanny and Vincent Sr., took it over in 1952. After their deaths in 2003, the restaurant closed, and later the building was sold.
In 2009, Fragnoli purchased the building and began making renovations.
In March of 2011, the restaurant reopened, offering many of the same recipes that made his mother’s cooking well known in Cortland.


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