Sir, out on the street you are governor. When you step inside, you are just another customer!A visiting Texas governor was told as he prepared to enter the establishment.
Fossati’s Delicatessen is the oldest deli in Texas, and one of the oldest restaurants in the United States. Located in Victoria, Texas, Fossati’s was opened in 1882 by Italian immigrant Fraschio (“Frank”) Napoleon Fossati. He had the current building constructed in 1895 and moved the deli from a nearby downtown location (actually, Fossati’s had changed locations several times, and had, at one time or another, been on every corner of the square in downtown Victoria). Fossati’s was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 20, 1991.
One of the oldest remaining commercial structures in Victoria, Fossati’s features double front doors with multi-light transoms. Over the years, Fossati’s has handled imported foods, groceries, and feed and has served as an important gathering place for Victoria’s citizens. In addition, many famous musicians have played at the deli, including country music legend Willie Nelson.
In the back room of the deli, known as the Frank Napoleon room, there is a giant bookcase filled with hundreds of cookbooks, many of which have been out of print for more than fifty years. Also inside, there is a trench-like area just above the floor surrounding the bar. This is where men used to spit tobacco. Outside of the building there are still metal rings where men used to tie up their horses and come in for a drink. After 125 years, Fossati’s is still owned and operated by the same family. NR-1991; RTHL-1987.