(PUEBLO, Colo.) — It’s a family tradition working at Pass Key restaurant – a business known in the Pueblo community for its special Italian sausage sandwich.

“So my grandpa and his brother started it in 1952,” said Luke Fleckenstein, owner of Pass Key Northern Restaurant. “We’ve had the privilege of being in business since we’re now working on our fourth generation.”

Pictures on the wall of Pass Key Northern restaurant of family members

Serving the Pueblo community is something Fleckenstein takes great pride in.

 “With the steel mill history here, that’s pretty much where we got our our whole start,” said Fleckenstein. “Our family’s been so fortunate to be able to serve the community of Pueblo and the hardworking men and women of our community.”

Outside of Pass Key Northern restaurant

When walking into Pass Key Northern restaurant you can find smiling staff and the delicious scent of Italian sausage in the air.

“The Super Pass Key Special is our most popular item. It’s our Italian sausage sandwich,” said Fleckenstein. “Local butcher that we’ve used since 1952 multiple generations there. We’ve also used the same baker since my grandfather started. So all of those traditions are baked into what we do here.”

Fleckenstein said he’s not messing with tradition when it comes to making the signature Pass Key sandwich.

“You don’t mess with the tradition, you know, and that’s, that’s what served us so well and that’s what all of our customers have… grown to know and that’s what we do too,” said Fleckenstein.

Pass Key restaurant is known for their special Italian sausage sandwich

When asked about the secret ingredient to the Pass Key Special, Fleckenstein would not reveal it.

“All I can say is that it’s made with love and tradition, and that’s the only thing that I can share,” said Fleckenstein.

For one local customer, Tom Petric, he was at a loss for words when describing the Pass Key Special.

“I don’t know how to explain,” said Petric. “If you’ve never had one, I don’t think you’d understand.”

Fleckenstein expressed his gratitude for keeping the family business going.

“It means everything because without the community that we serve, there’s there is no Pass Key Special. There is no sandwich, there is we don’t exist,” said Fleckenstein. “So we are super fortunate all the way back to our roots. You know, we try to stay cognizant of where we came from, because if you don’t know where you came from, you don’t know where you can go.”

Petric shared that his cousin heads straight to Pass Key when visiting Pueblo.

“I got a cousin that comes from Saint Louis,” said Petric. “He was born here this just the first place he stops…. don’t even go see family first. He just goes right to Pass Key.”

The business motto ‘just taste the tradition’ is encompassed day-to-day when serving the Pueblo community.

“So it’s been an honor to serve those families for multiple generations,” said Fleckenstein. “So we’re just ultimately just thankful at the end of the day.”