Big news, sausage lovers – the old recipes for everything from Kitchen Sink to garlic cheese are back at Fowle’s Market in Newburyport. After a decade of changes in ownership, the butchery is now in the capable hands of Adam Vigneault, whose father originally introduced sausages to the century-old store to compete with the influx of big grocery stores in town.
Vigneault and his wife Ginny King quietly reopened the shop at the end of June, reintroducing a lot of his family recipes, from house-baked beans to those Kitchen Sink sausages, so called because they are packed with pork, peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese – everything but the kitchen sink.
Vigneault grew up in Fowle’s, washing dishes and sweeping floors as a wee tot before graduating to making their famous sausage as a teenager, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him. Vigneault’s grandparents, Joe and Marguerite, bought the store in the 1940s from the Fowle family, who opend it in 1903, retaining the original name to distance themselves from some “bad business” at their original knick-knack shop in the South End, says King.
For 60 years, the business served the community, first as a corner store with a little bit of everything, then specializing in butchery and their famous sausages.
The family sold the business in 2000, but retained the building. After that, Fowle’s saw four owners in a little more than a decade, and when the last owner suddenly fell ill, the doors were abruptly shut with no notice—even to their landlords.
The reopening is completely a labor of love – King quit her job as a dietitian to manage the day-to-day operations and Vigneault comes in every morning before his day job as a mechanical engineer to make the sausage, all the while juggling their two small children. Vigneault’s mom, Kathy, whips up many of the sides from hand written recipes and “muscle-memory,” and his sister pitches in behind the counter.
“We took it over to save it,” King says, noting that the business is grandfathered as retail, in an area not currently zoned for it. If Fowle’s shuttered, another food store would not be allowed to open in its place.
“For my husband and I to make a decision that would impact the entire community didn’t seem right,” King says. “We want to see if we can get it back off the ground.”
Customers are glad to see it back – and buying up tender steak tips and about a dozen kinds of sausage daily. The only thing missing? A liquor license. The couple had to reapply and hopes to start stocking craft beer and wine again this fall.
341 High St., Newburyport. Hours: Wed-Sat: 10 am – 6 pm, Sun: 1 2pm – 6 pm; closed Monday & Tuesday, www.fowlesmarketnbpt.co