Our Story

We’ve built our history of award-winning cheeses using traditional Italian methods passed down through generations of cheese makers. It all started when Polly-O’s founder, Giuseppe Pollio, first arrived in America from Italy in the late 1890s. When people tell us our cheese looks and tastes authentically Italian, we can tell them honestly—it is.

Giuseppe found almost immediate success when he started making and selling cheese from his home in Long Island. At that time, it was hard to find high-quality cheese, and once Americans got a taste for it, they couldn’t get enough. Giuseppe’s cheese became so successful that he and his son, Albert, opened “Pollio Latticini” (Italian Deli Store) in 1899.

“On holidays, they had lines around the corner. They made cheese at night for the next day.”

Pollio Latticini Store, Brooklyn, New York, 1899

Milk delivery by
horse-drawn sleigh, 1939
Construction of
Campbell Plant, 1938

Giuseppe’s way of hand-crafting cheese with traditional Italian methods continued to grow the brand, and in 1938 Polly-O’s present plant in Campbell, New York, was completed. A decade later, Polio became an epidemic and caused widespread trauma across America. Albert realized the company needed to change the logo because of the similarity between the company’s name and the disease. That’s when Polly the Parrot and “Polly-O” as you know it were born.

As the plant and company continued to grow into the 60s, Albert stayed true to his and his father’s values. And it’s those values we continue to follow today.

Polly the Parrot, 1950

Polly-O is now under the care of BelGioioso Cheese Inc., an established producer of award-winning specialty cheeses made in the U.S.A. We strive to honor the Polly-O tradition by owning and operating the dedicated Polly-O plant in Campbell, New York, continuing the operation of over 50 years with the same care, while adding innovations that will help us continue to make seriously good Polly-O cheese.

BelGioioso is known for quality cheeses, which will continue to be made as they always have, and the Polly-O brand adds depth to its family. And we have brought the Parrot back, creating a whimsical, nostalgic nod to Polly-O’s beginnings while celebrating its evolution and popularity. We welcome Polly-O to the BelGioioso family.

Polly the Parrot, 2022

“Never, never change the product. You lose a customer for price, you get them back. You lose them for quality, you lose them forever.”

One bite of our cheese and you’ll understand just how much of a difference a century’s worth of hand-crafted values can make.