Family-owned for more than 70 years

Our story begins in the early 1900s, when Henry Steinbarth departs his Bavarian homeland to begin a new life of promise and opportunity in the United States. Arriving in Chicago, he endured many hardships as a young man, but his tenacity and determination were rewarded.  In 1924, he opened a meat-market on Chicago’s southwest side, amidst the booming economy of the stockyards, steel mills and freight yards.

His mission was simple; to create exceptional products with the quality and flavor reminiscent of his European heritage. Baked goods and a variety of hand-crafted sausages were his specialty.

Over the years, Chicago’s population continued to diversify. Immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries were drawn to the area through abundant job opportunities and affordable housing. They laid down their roots in the neighborhoods of Pilsen, Little Village and South Chicago. Henry recognized an opportunity to serve the needs of his new customers, and hand-crafted a recipe for Mexican sausage known as Chorizo.

It didn’t take long for his formula to earn a reputation within the Mexican community as La Preferida, meaning “The Preferred.”

As the product gained in popularity, Henry’s two sons Ralph and Billy entered the business. Soon they were selling Chorizo and other products from the trunk of the family car to various bodegas, tiendas, colmados, panaderias and carnicerias across the town.  Realizing the potential, Ralph, Billy and their lifelong friend Frank O’Grady, successfully elevated the family store into an established food company.

In 1949, La Preferida (the brand) was first introduced to the market.

Inspired by Henry’s vision, the 3 young entrepreneurs used the product as a springboard to expand their offerings. Over the years, La Preferida has grown to more than 250 products including canned beans, rice, hominy, olive oil, seasonings, salsas, refried beans, peppers and a variety of other grocery products. Generations of consumers continue to embrace La Preferida as the brand they trust.

Four generations later, our family’s commitment to superior quality and flavor continues. Our mission to deliver an authentic food experience in every product remains true. Just as it was almost 100 years ago, by my father, Henry Alphonse Steinbarth.


Ralph Henry Steinbarth and family

Quality. Variety. Taste. Tradition.

La Preferida… it’s in our name!