Ever since Amy Sawyer was a little girl in Cheyenne she’s thought of Buffalo as her home.
Her first impressions of Johnson County came from summertime trips to visit family, which has lived in these parts since the late 1800’s. When she introduced her husband Jeff to the area he fell in love with it too, and soon enough they were making plans to escape the concrete jungle and suburban sprawl of Phoenix, Arizona and come home to Buffalo.
It just so happened that the day when Amy and Jeff visited town 4 years ago to do some relocation reconnaissance the Johnny Midnite Gourmet & Wahoo Frontier Toppings business went up for sale. Given Amy & Jeff’s BBQ background it was a match made in sauce heaven and they went ahead and bought the business.
Johnny Midnite Gourmet & Wahoo Frontier Toppings products have made a name as some of the best sauces around. Products under the Johnny Midnite Gourmet brand are “savory”—think BBQ sauces, spice rubs, steak sauce, hot sauce— while Wahoo Frontier Toppings are the “sweets”— syrups, jams and jellies, and cocktail mixers. Many of the Wahoo Frontier Toppings offerings feature handpicked chokecherries from the foot of the Big Horn Mountains and other regional agrarian communities.
Amy & Jeff have been busy in the years since they’ve taken over. They’ve reinvigorated the business, crafted new recipes, and launched new products. But the biggest change came 3 years ago when they moved from an old dairy barn to their new location at 68 E. Fetterman St, where they have retail space, warehousing, and an FDA approved kitchen.
The kitchen is a special point of pride for Amy since it makes it possible to produce everything on-site and provide thorough quality control to make the best product possible. “Everything we make, we look at. This is all hand-done. We’re responsible for everything that goes out of here, and it comes back to us.” The FDA approved kitchen allows Amy to share her knowledge and resources with the community by providing “co-packing” opportunities for other local residents so they can take a favorite recipe, produce consistent results, and package the product with custom branding.
Needless to say, business has been booming since they’ve taken over. “We’ve had increased sales every year since we’ve owned Johnny Midnite Gourmet & Wahoo Frontier Toppings.” Of all their offerings the Johnny Midnite Gourmet Black Peppercorn Steak Sauce is a top-seller, which is a staple in local homes and reputable restaurants throughout the region.
But beyond the outstanding facilities, popular products, and cherished mixtures, the secret ingredient in the Johnny Midnite Gourmet & Wahoo Frontier Toppings recipe for success will always be Johnson County.
“We moved here from Phoenix, which is all concrete and asphalt, so it’s nice being up here. Theoretically, I could close up shop, walk 30 yards, and go fly-fishing, or go up to the mountains—that‘s the best thing about living in Buffalo. Without sounding hokey this is kind of what America is. This is the small town we all have in our minds that just sounds perfect. It’s nice and pastoral, you can walk out and see kids practicing baseball right downtown, you walk into a bar and it’s kind of like walking into an episode of Cheers. You know everybody, everybody’s nice, and since Buffalo is tourism-based people tend to be happy when they come here.”
It’s nice to give people a product that makes them happy.”
Swing on by and see Amy and Jeff at Johnny Midnite Gourmet & Wahoo Frontier Toppings next time your adventurous palette brings you to Buffalo.
In the meantime, visit http://johnnymidnitegourmet.com/ to select your sauces and find out more about Johnny Midnite Gourmet & Wahoo Frontier Toppings.
See Below for some of Amy’s Favorite Recipes:
Johnny Midnite Smokin’ Salmon Dip
6-8 oz Smoked Salmon (skin removed)
3t Johnny Midnite XXX Hot Sauce
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 Green onion, finely chopped
Soften cream cheese in a microwave until very soft. Mix in smoked salmon. Add Johnny Midnite XXX Hot Sauce. Next, add sour cream and mayonnaise, stir together until completely mixed. Finally stir in garlic and green onions. Place mixture in refrigerator and let flavors meld for 2 hours. Stir before serving.
McNut’s Slo-Cooker Chicken
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts or thighs
8 oz. can crushed pineapple
8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
12 oz. bottle Johnny Midnite Buffalo BBQ Sauce
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, sliced into strips
Spray cooker with non-stick spray. Place chicken on bottom then cover with pineapple, water chestnuts, and onion. Cover with Johnny Midnite BBQ Sauce. Add bell pepper in last 30 minutes of cook time. Cook 5-6 hours on “low.”
Serve over rice, quinoa, or other favorite grain.
Johnny Midnite Hot Beef Sandwich
4 lb. boneless rump/pot roast
1 cup beef stock
1 cup water
1 cup Johnny Midinite Black Peppercorn Sauce
1 Cup Wahoo Chokecherry Jelly
1 t Red Pepper Flakes
1 t Granulated Sugar
Place roast in a crockpot. Stir together remaining ingredients and pour on top of meat. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (you can cook on high for 4 hours, but meat may be tough). When it is finished cooking place the roast in a big bowl and shred it using two forks. Reserve the liquid in the crockpot and place shredded beef back in.
To Serve: Place meat in whatever roll you prefer (soft or crusty) and serve with small bowl of liquid for dipping.
MESSY, BUT GOOD.