About Us

Our Heritage - The Story of Five Star Brand

The Dream Begins: A Tale of Five Visionaries

In 1967, Cleveland, Ohio became the birthplace of a remarkable culinary journey with the founding of Five Star Brand by Ludwig Gutwein, Fred Durr, Joe Kitzberger, Heinz Neumann, and Hans Schoeps. These skilled European sausage makers, each from different parts of Germany, were united by their passion for quality meats and the pursuit of the American dream. Despite facing early setbacks, including separation from their former employer, Brookside Meats, their determination to create their own legacy only grew stronger.

Building the Brand: Growth and Tradition

The early operations of Five Star Brand were based in a modest facility at 5103 Storer Avenue. In 1968, a significant decision to expand led to the relocation to a larger building at 3007 Clinton Avenue. This bold move marked a pivotal point in the brand’s development and set the stage for its future growth.

Under Bob Gutwein’s leadership as the second-generation owner and president, Five Star Brand has continued to uphold the values and traditions laid down by its founders. We have remained committed to producing high-quality, handcrafted meats, following the time-honored European recipes and techniques that define our products.

A Commitment to Quality and Community

For more than five decades, Five Star Brand has been an integral part of the Cleveland community, offering a range of sausages and deli meats made from the finest pork and beef. Our dedication to maintaining traditional recipes and techniques has earned us a loyal customer base, making our products a staple at various events and family gatherings across Cleveland.

A New Era with Hillcrest Foodservice

On April 22, 2022, a new chapter began for Five Star Brand with its acquisition by Hillcrest Foodservice. This union of two prominent Ohio-based businesses represents a significant opportunity for growth and expansion. Hillcrest and the new Five Star Brand Division are committed to leading the brand forward, dedicated to preserving and expanding upon the legacy of over 55 years that Five Star Brand has established.

Looking Ahead: Our Vision for the Future

Joining forces with Hillcrest Foodservice opens up new horizons for Five Star Brand. We aim to leverage the strengths and resources of Hillcrest to expand our reach and enhance our product offerings. This partnership celebrates our mutual Cleveland roots and is a testament to the enduring quality and appeal of the Five Star Brand. Our future, now supported by Hillcrest’s capabilities, is set to reach new heights. We invite our loyal customers and new patrons alike to join us in this exciting journey as we continue to serve the community that has been at the heart of our brand.