Evansville native Kelly Lefler dreamed of starting a pasta sauce business nine years ago when her husband said, “This is amazing! Did you make this?” after tasting the sauce that in 2008 would become Mimi’s Gourmet Pasta Sauce.
“It was my mom’s recipe, and I thought it was a homemade recipe,” says Lefler. “I had no idea that she used a jar of spaghetti sauce and added to it. There was no recipe so I went home and played around with some spices. I just thought to myself, ‘What would be really good together?’ and came up with the sweet and spicy sauce.”
The sauce is a rich and red with a small ingredient list that includes pineapple juice, carrots, and several spices. It’s manufactured and packaged by Farm Boy Food Service and although Mimi’s currently is only available in the Tri-State area, Lefler is working to grow into the St. Louis and southern region markets.
“We have sold, in a little more than six months, about 5,000 jars,” says Lefler, noting that they have been selling in stores for the last four years. The sauce is sold in Evansville at Schnucks, Buehler’s, Wesselman’s, Penny John’s, Elbert’s Natural Food Market, and the River City Co-op, as well as other locations in the Tri-State.
“We are working on another flavor,” says Lefler. “Some pizza places have picked us up in Tennessee, Illinois, and Indiana. We’re just growing all-around.”
For more information about Mimi’s Gourmet Pasta Sauce, visit mimisgourmetpastasauce.com.