Yanni’s Sausages, a Sonoma County favorite with roots in Greece, has been named small business of the year by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa).
Founded nine years ago, the family-run business was built on childhood memories – and a kitchen mixer. Shortly after owners John “Yanni” and Francesca Vrattos were both laid off from their jobs in 2009, the couple received a mixer from their daughter for Christmas. Yanni then went to work replicating the Greek Loukaniko sausages his mom made when he was a child – only this time, the sausages were made with the help of a Kitchen Aid. His experiment was a success and the couple launched a sausage-making business and restaurant in Penngrove. Before they knew it, Yanni’s Sausage Grill was flourishing.
Over the years, Yanni’s became a popular Penngrove place with regulars devouring Greek and Italian sausages and chili. John and Francesca Vrattos closed the restaurant in February of this year to focus on their booming wholesale sausage business. According to their website, their sausages are available at 18 restaurants and 30 grocers, and won the “Best of Charcuterie” award at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
In addition to running a successful business, the Vrattos have donated thousands of pounds of sausage to the Redwood Empire Food Bank, hoping to share their food with all community members. After nearly ten years in business, the enthusiasm for Yanni’s Sausages continues to move the couple. “We are still humbled by how much people love our sausages,” said John Vrattos.
Senator Dodd is one of those avid fans. “It is truly inspiring to see the way John and Francesca have turned their vision into a reality,” said Dodd. “I applaud their achievement and wish them the best as they pursue more great sausages.”