METAIRIE, La. — It's almost sno-ball season in New Orleans.
Everyone has their favorites.
At the top of a lot of people's list is Sal's in Old Metairie.
But who is Sal?
Steven Bel is the owner of Sal's.
"Sal is Salvador Talluto. I called him Mr. Sal. Most of the people around here called him Mr. Sal. He had a grocery store on Metairie Road. He had a real estate office. He actually sold Mardi Gras throws out of here. He did a lot. He was an entrepreneur," says Bel.
In the late 1950s, Sal had a heart attack and gave up the grocery store. In 1959, he opened the sno-ball stand in front of his house. The business outgrew the original space over the next decade.
In 1969, crews knocked down a huge cypress tree to make room for the current building. The crews that knocked it down never came back to finish removing it. Eventually, it just became seating for the customers at Sal's as they enjoyed their delicious sno-balls.
Steven has been working at Sal's since he was 8 years old.
"My first job here was to pick up trash. I got paid a dollar a day to pick up trash," says Bel. And the woman who would become his wife, Gretchen showed up a few years later.
"Yes, she started here when she was 11. She lived next to Sal's granddaughter," says Bel.
Steven worked at Sal's through high school and then took over in the 1990s. Sal passed away in the 1970s but his presence is still felt in many ways.
"Sal made two flavors and named them after his granddaughters. One was robin and one was purple dawn named after Robin and Dawn," says Bel.
Robin is nectar and ice cream. Purple dawn is spearmint and strawberry.
A sno-ball stand is a very New Orleans way to leave a legacy.
Sal's Sno-Ball Stand is at 1823 Metairie Ave.
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