Mi’Ndujo And Its Magical Powers

Mi'Ndujo is the first regional fast food that brings together the concept of American burger with the local products of Calabria.

Photo by gbarkz, Unsplash. Instagram/Twitter.

Mi’Ndujo is the first regional fast food that brings together the concept of American burger with the local products of Calabria.

Marco Zicca founded Mi’Ndujo in 2007 when, after serveral experiences in the catering industry, he decided to start his own business. First named Panino Genuino (Genuine Burger) to highlight the careful selection of local ingredients, Mi’Ndujo has become — as they call it — the first model of ‘show food’ that, starting from Cosenza, is now conquering the rest of Italy.

Zicca’s food and business intuition is based on the concept that customers should be shown every phase during the preparation their burger, giving them an active role in the creative process. The people of Cosenza quickly understood the power of this idea and began to line up outside the first shop in Corso Mazzini, prompting the opening of other two stores. 2019 represented a crucial year for Mi’Ndujo, as its popularity skyrocketed to the point that a complete re-branding was needed in order to present itself beyond the regional borders.

The new, emblematic name now perfectly connects clients in Rome with an often disregarded regional reality. Indeed, Calabria is worldwide famous for the ‘nduja, the famous spicy pork spread, which is also a key ingredient in many of the burgers. Nevertheless, other products express the gastronomic richness Calabria: the caciocavallo cheese, the Tropea onion, the Calabrian pepper, and the Sila potatoes cultivated in the namesake, pristine mountain plateau, will make your culinary experience unforgettable.

This quality-conscious approach emerges from the words of Marketing Director Eugenio Romano, who is keen to stress how their success mostly lies in the careful selection of local food supplies. The name of the burgers also reflects the company mission of offering a genuine alternative to junk food: Mi Sbunno, Mi ‘Ndujo, Bisignano Top, Ton Pippo, are just a few names appearing on the menu.

Furthermore, Mi’Ndujo manages to empower local companies, as its approach significantly helps micro and small businesses in the area to improve profits and survive in difficult times. In this way, the ‘Mi’Ndujo experience’ contributed to the promotion of the cultural richness of a unique territory. Those who don’t know Calabria usually remain impressed by the strong and round flavors of the local delicacies. At the same time, Calabrians who grew up eating these products rediscover them in another format and, more importantly, through a new customer experience, as the burgers are quickly served as in a fast food.

Nonetheless, the service may be the only similarity between Mi’Ndujo and other fast food chains. Its burgers are a window into the lifestyle of the region, from which you can see the finest tuna, the cheese made from cows’ milk bred in montain areas, and the sausages produced in local family farms. This southern Italian success story shows foreigners the variety of an often forgotten territory, far beyond the common imaginary.

Yet, Mi’Ndujo is not only an experience for tourists or foodies, but also a way to encourage young Calabrians to promote their region and their roots. A mix of local ingredients, words in dialect, and local personnel, is the best way to strengthen the existing networks and to increase the visibility of Calabria. The well thought-out combination of ingredients in each burger, makes them the perfect solution for a lunch or a dinner break, offering both gourmet and traditional flavors.

It is therefore clear why Mi’Ndujo is growing fast and has a bright future. As the situation evolves, their initial business niche is proportionally expanding due to the company’s ability to be identified with the quality of their products. The high consideration for the food value chain quickly brought results, allowing Mi’Ndujo to open its first store in Rome in 2019.

This story perfectly represents the renewed importance of local and zero kilometer products, which often help boost regional excellencies and revitalize an entire territory. The selection of simple flavors and top quality ingredients is the North star. The great power of the first Calabrian burgers thus lies in their ability to revive old memories, nostalgic feelings and family spirit, the true hidden secret of Mi’Ndujo.

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