WALLINGFORD — Town native Ben Russo’s dip company has been named the official salsa and guacamole of the Boston Red Sox for the 2019 season.
“This was one of these defining moments to get the right partnership that can help grow and expand in the New England area,” said Russo, one of the owners of the Tex-Mex food brand Chica de Gallo, based in Massachusetts.
Chica de Gallo, which includes a variety of salsa and guacamole, such as mango pineapple and spicy with ghost pepper, will be sold at concession stands, nacho bars and luxury suites in Fenway Park in Boston.
“We’re excited to partner with Chica de Gallo,” said Red Sox executive vice president Troup Parkinson. “It’s always great when we can partner with local, Boston-based companies and we are pleased to welcome Chica de Gallo to the Red Sox family.”
Russo moved to Massachusetts in 1996 after graduating from Trinity College in Hartford. He and co-owner Amanda Bauman started with another partner in 2012 after friends suggested that the trio sell their salsa. When the third partner left in 2014, the company rebranded, updated recipes and increased promotion.
Bauman was doing a product demonstration in Boston when, unbeknownst to her, a Red Sox representative sampled some salsa. She received an unexpected email from the team a week later.
“We were like ‘is this real?’ ” Bauman said. “We were very excited.”
“To say that our jaws were on the floor doesn’t do it justice,” Russo said. “We were speechless.”
The pair was already focusing on trying to saturate the New England market and promote the brand any way they could. They hope to expand outside the Boston area.
“We would like to break out of the region and East Coast and become a national brand,” Bauman said.
The company is preparing to set up products in Fenway Park for opening day, which is April 9, and will introduce new, 2-ounce grab-and-go containers at Fenway.
Russo said the next step is to sell single-serving containers in a multipack. He added the new Red Sox partnership will be followed by a promotion blitz.
“I don’t know if we could have had a better partner than the Red Sox, the most recognizable team in the world,” Russo said.