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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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Aren’t You Hungary? [Visiting First Quality Sausage House In Safety Harbor]

Posted Nov 5, 2010 by Jeff Houck

Updated Nov 4, 2010 at 11:52 PM

First Quality Sausage House


My centerpiece story for the front of this week’s Flavor section in the Tampa Tribune was about Anikó Rákóczi and her First Quality Sausage House in Safety Harbor.

I found out about this place through Anwar Richardson, who covers the NFL and boxing for the Trib. He met Anikó‘s daughter at a gym that they both go to. He encouraged her to call me to tell me about the shop, which specializes in Hungarian meats and other foods.

Anikó‘s daughter’s name was ...  Anikó. Her other daughter’s name? Enikõ. Same as Anikó‘s sister.

That’s when I knew I had found an interesting story.

I always love to find new places, so I drove out to check out the sausage house. Once there, I met Anikó and her sister Enikõ. They were working hard on a Friday before the Fourth of July, trying to fill orders as customers came in.

She let me sample some tepertő, a crispy Hungarian fried bacon seasoned with paprika. I was hooked.

In back, Enikõ was hand-cutting biscuits made with bacon.

That sealed the deal.

My co-worker, Walt Belcher, told me a story today that he once stopped into the sausage house looking for breakfast. The store once sold meals but doesn’t any longer (there are plans to open a sandwich shop sometime in the future.)

Anyway, Walt told Aniko that he wanted eggs and bacon. She said she didn’t sell those, but that she’d be happy to make them for him. Pretty soon, he was sitting at a table in the back having breakfast.

The other anecdote I loved came from Anikó‘s daughter, Anikó .

When Anikó‘s daughter was in the U.S. Marines in the early 2000s, she was stationed in San Diego. Her master gunnery sergent was from Tampa. He took Anikó under his wing during her time in the military. The gunnery sergent was coming to MacDill Air Force Base with the commanding offiver of Anikó‘s battalion and two other commanding officers.

What did mom do? She invites them over for dinner.

“I told her, ‘Mom, don’t do that. Just coffee.”

But dinner it was. And after she was done, she handed the officers a picture of her daughter in uniform.

“She prints off that frickin’ picture and has all of them sign it,” she says. “I was so embarrassed. She finds the worst photo and has them all sign it like a Dave Mathews concert.”

That photo now hangs in the sausage house.

Here’s a gallery of photos I shot at the store:

 

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