DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The city of Dallas and its residents lost an icon this week.
James DiCarlo, of Jimmy’s Food Store, died on Sunday at the age of 92. He had been a grocer in Dallas for more than 70 years, first in south Dallas and then in east Dallas, where he and his father bought the corner store, Morse Brothers Grocery, located at Fitzhugh and Bryan.
Jimmy’s Food Store is closed today. The family, employees, neighborhood regulars and friends are celebrating Jimmy’s life at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.
A crew from NewsRadio 1080 KRLD visited Jimmy’s Food Store this week to learn more about the man and the business that has endured for three generations.
Listen to audio from KRLD’s Emily Trube
From the inside out, it appears Jimmy’s Food Store has always been an Italian grocery. It hasn’t. When the DiCarlo’s took the store over in 1966, they kept it as a corner store.
“We sold a lot of groceries, we cashed a lot of payroll checks,” recalled Mike DiCarlo, who started working in his father’s store when he was 13-years-old. “Around 1978, people starting coming from Cuba, Vietnam, Thailand, so the neighborhood was full of immigrants. We started to carry Asian food. We did Caribbean foods.”
The neighborhood changed again and a number of abandoned and sub-standard structures were torn down.
In the late 1990’s, Mike said that they started to bring in Italian food. The complete change-over to full Italian happened during the reconstruction of Jimmy’s Food Store, following a fire in 2004.
In addition to celebrating the food of the DiCarlo family’s roots, Mike says that they also focus on partnering with local vendors. “We have cookies from Richardson. We have Henry’s Ice Cream. Almost all of our salsa’s and pickles are from Texas. I like to keep our Texas money in Texas.”
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