In the past year, a trio of mod markets has popped up in the D.C. area. Selling everything from meats, cheeses and a broad variety of dry goods to sandwiches and grab ‘n’ go prepared meals, these three shops are a boon for bon vivants.
Co-owners Maria and Ettore Rusciano made a splash in Brookland when they opened the Neapolitan pizzeria Menomale in the spring of 2012. Now the husband and wife are expanding with the debut of Salumeria 2703, a picture perfect Italian market just a few doors down from their first venture. “We want it to be just like a deli in Italy,” says Maria Rusciano. The slender shop does make you feel like you’re in Naples. Shelves running down the left side are filled with dried pastas, jarred sauces, coffee, biscotti, colatura di alici (anchovy sauce), olive oils, and a variety of vinegars, including one infused with black truffles. Refrigerated cases rule the opposing side. There are freshly made pastas –fettuccine, casarecce, spaghetti alla chitarra, bucatini, pappardelle, fusilli, and linguine – as well as homemade take ‘n’ bake eggplant parmesan and lasagna. Additionally, there are plenty of cheeses – including fresh mozzarella and ricotta – and meats, such as prosciutto, guanciale, and sausages. Every day, the shop bakes fresh Neapolitan style peasant bread with a hard crust and soft interior. Be forewarned: it sells out quickly, so go early to score some.
Owner Adriana Penachio-Sifakis always wanted to create a miniature version of Mario Batali’s Eataly. The Italian-American entrepreneur made her dream come true when she opened the aptly named the Italian Place early this September. Located in a whitewashed historic building in Old Town Alexandria, the 700-square-foot, tile floored space is packed with gourmet groceries galore – from Italian imported risotto and Illy coffee products to pasta sauces and mozzarella cheese making kits. The breakfast crowd can nosh on fresh baked Nutella croissants; noontime visitors have their pick of a slew of sandwiches – like the Giorgio packed with prosciutto, salami, capicola, and provolone – along with warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies; customers who aren’t in the mood to cook dinner can take home heat ‘n’ eat meatballs and eggplant parmesan. There’s a small wine room stocked mostly with Italian varietals – though there is a lone Grecian option as a nod to Penachio-Sifakis’ Greek husband – where the shop hosts complimentary wine tastings every Friday from 5-7 p.m.
This slender shop would be hard to spot if there wasn’t a cow statue on the roof. “It’s our lighthouse,” jokes manager-butcher Joe Radford. A sister operation to the popular Bethesda fishmonger and market Pescadeli, it opened early this year across the street from its sibling. Dry goods – such as marinades, rubs, and barbecue sauces – fill the back area, while glass-fronted fridges packed with milk, eggs, and prepared foods, like meat pies and truffled mac ‘n’ cheese. A butchers counter runs down the left side of the narrow shop, full of humane treatment certified, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, Duroc pork, chickens, turkeys, sausages (merguez, lamb, kielbasa, bacon bratwurst), terrines, and country pâté. If you don’t see what you want, the staff can track it down; they’ve sourced everything from whole suckling pigs to crown roasts for customers. Uncertain of what protein to pick up or how to cook it? Staffers are happy to share recipes and preparation guidelines.