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Italian sausage brings a taste of Upstate New York

By Tom Hanchett

Richard_McCoyWith Fall in the air, my tastebuds long for Italian sausage sandwiches. I grew up partly in the Upstate region of New York, home to lots of immigrants from Italy. Sausages grilled with sweet peppers and onions are the food of Fall football games and neighborhood festivals – even if, like me, you aren’t Italian.
So imagine the anticipation when I pulled into the parking lot of Little Hardware near Panthers Stadium and saw a bright blue awning over a silver food cart with a sign “KT’S NEW YORK, Italian sausage w/ peppers & onions.”
“Where you from?” I ask, trying to sound casual. “Grew up in Rochester,” says Richard McCoy, hands a blur at the gas grill. “Cooperstown,” pipes up a customer. “Skaneateles,” chuckles another.
Oh yes, I’m in the right place! But will the sausage be right?

“We bring down Zweigle’s sausage, made only in Rochester, N.Y.,” says McCoy. “It’s got that seasoning, fennel seeds.”

McCoy arrived in 1993 for school at UNC Charlotte and hooked up with another Rochester expatriate, K.T. Connors, who ran hotdog carts.

“Back when I started, customers in Charlotte had never heard of Italian sausage,” recalls K.T. Now the pair has a loyal following, not just former Upstate New Yorkers, but also contractors who like a hearty quick lunch when they stop at Little Hardware for supplies.

And on Panther game days, look for the KT’s NEW YORK cart on Morehead Street at Church Street. “We’re trying out Zweigle’s white hots – white hotdogs made of pork and veal,” tempts McCoy.


10:30 am – 3:30 pm Monday – Friday
Little Hardware parking lot
1400 South Mint St.
Charlotte, NC 28203
704 – 333 – 7216

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