Brewer Food Service is a family-owned business that was founded in 1953 by mom-&-pop restaurant owners who wanted to diversify. Succeeding generations worked their way into the business by unpacking cartons and scrubbing down work areas. Over the decades we learned how to combine old methods with new trends to best serve evolving markets. Family members continue to oversee all aspects of the trade so that our customers are never surprised when we exceed their expectations.


Salvatore Barbieri

Salvatore Barbieri comes to America from southern Italy in the early 1900’s and brings with him the culinary knowledge of his heritage and his family’s prized Italian recipes from the old country. Phil Barber Sr. and the Barber family restaurant, Lil Joes, will later use these recipes to serve authentic Italian food to it’s diners on the southside of Des Moines, IA.

Honoring A Legacy

Southern Italian favorites such as veal parmesan, pasta gina, lasagna, red sauce, spaghetti, meat balls and italian sausage sandwich’s were among the treasure trove of recipes he would share through his legacy. The Barber family honors him as the Founding Father included in the packaging for his own Gourmet Italian Sausage recipe.

A Culinary Heritage & Love Is Born

Phil Barber Sr. begins his culinary journey in the officer’s mess as a young Navy seaman during World War 2. After wrapping up his service in the South Pacific on the island of Guam, he returns to American and marries Jackie Barber and starts a family. Phil carries on his culinary expertise by creating a living for the family as a chef at the original Latin King in Des Moines, IA. Jackie develops into a chef as well, solidifying the Barber family’s path to fulfill their dream of one day owning their own restaurant.

The Barber Family Diversifies

During his years as a chef, Phil Sr. begins a relationship with Brewer Wholesale Meats as his primary supplier of gourmet meats and services. He sees diversifying as a way to grow his family’s business and eventually develops an interest in the company. Phil Sr. puts his two sons, Phil Jr. and Jeff, to work as delivery drivers while they attend school. Brewer is one of six wholesale meat companies in the Des Moines area at the time. Today Brewer Food Service is the only family owned and operated wholesale provider left in the market.

The American Dream Is Fully Realized

Along with Brewer Wholesale Meats, Phil and Jackie achieve their dream and open Lil Joes to continue in the restaurant business owning their own restaurant. A regular staff of locals and family members ensure Lil Joes is a success for the Barber family. The restaurant continues on for years until both Phil and Jackie retire and sell the business. The Barber brothers take over managing and running Brewer Wholesale Meats until Phil Jr. eventually purchases the company.

Dedicated To Hospitality & Quality Service

The wholesale meat market business changes over time with nationals and regionals now competing in the local market and Brewer Wholesale Meats becomes Brewer Food Service. Today, Brewer Food Service offers over 174 different SKW’s and is inspected daily by the USDA to ensure all food safety and quality requirements are met. Brewer has enjoyed growth over the years and has a impeccable reputation as a provider of quality gourmet meat and specialty foods. The next generation of family members are being trained in the business for future assurance of maintaining the quality of service our customers expect from us. Sons, grandsons, and nephews are all at Brewer today carrying on Salvatore Barbieri’s American dream.