PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Even though former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci has died, his Mayor’s Own Marinara Sauce isn’t going anywhere.
Cianci passed away Thursday at The Miriam Hospital in Providence. He was 74.
Kristen Catanzaro, the owner of Catanzaro Food Products, said her company has made and packaged Cianci’s sauce since 2010.
“Having to look at his face on all of the labels yesterday as I made it, it was hard and very, very sad,” Catanzaro said.
According to Catanzaro, Cianci’s death won’t slow the production of his pasta sauce – because she intends to make the recipe until she is told to stop.
“I have gotten calls this morning and they are afraid they won’t be able to get the product anymore,” Catanzaro said. “As far as Catanzaro’s is concerned, we’re still making it the same, sending it out and distributing it unless otherwise told differently. It’s still there, it’s still on the shelves and its’s still being made.”
Cianci introduced his Mayor’s Own Marinara Sauce in 1995, saying portions of the sales would benefit Providence school children. The sauce quickly became a well-known part of Cianci’s public persona.
Since its beginning, Cianci has presented the sauce to celebrities like Jay Leno and fellow politicians like Hillary Clinton.
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For a while, Cianci also marketed the Mayor’s Own Extra Virgin Olive Oil. According to Catanzaro, he had other ideas too.
“We actually wanted to make a Buddy Biscotti or a Buddy Bite,” she said.
Catanzaro said Buddy always took pride in his products, especially the sauce. She said he would come by to test it, ensuring that it always tasted just like mom’s.
Like many other things, Buddy’s sauce wasn’t without controversy. In 2014, The Associated Press reported that sales of the sauce had raised just $3 in scholarship money from 2009 to 2012.
Cianci maintained that his scholarship fund continues to give thousands of dollars to local students.