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Willow Rest-Gloucester

Willow Rest is open and I stopped very briefly today to check it out. Lots of fresh produce which I assume will become more local as the season progresses. They did have native corn and English peas. Not sure what else was truly local but all looked fresh and good . Dairy case with usual suspects along with local mozzarella. Some ( packaged) but interesting cheeses. Refrigerator case with portions of olives, marinated peppers and the like. Some cryovac'd meats notably steak tips and marinated chicken. Have quite a few " Ned -like" items for sale incl nuts, jams and jellies, Italian jarred tuna, crackers,pasta and spices. Organic choices for eggs, milk. Some frozen pasta ensembles and the longed for locally made stuffed clams. There is a counter that serves breakfast and lunch which is mostly salads and sandwiches but it sure smelled good in there. Didn't check out the bread and pastry offerings but this is a great addition for anything from cocktail nibble fare to the " oh I need" heavy cream, eggs , a tomato etc . Not to mention 1/2 gall containers of Richardsons ice cream. Great addition and I hope they do well, open 7 days , 7am to 7pm. Didn't buy anything as I had just come from Connolly's and Virgilios. The Virgillio St Joseph sub that I split with my Husband for lunch was excellent . I had my first " lobster tail" and while I liked the cream interior, I thought the pastry was way tough or is this how it is supposed to be...not flaky at all but rather hard...???

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  1. I have had lobster tails from 3 places and all were as you described. Whether that's the way they are supposed to be, dunno.

    1 Reply
    1. Supposed to be that way for lobster tails and sfogliatelle. I think virgilios make the best one I have ever eaten.

      4 Replies
        1. re: capeanne

          Do they still have the brick oven and make pizza?

          1. re: justbeingpolite

            I didn't see the oven ( and wasn't looking for it ) but I picked up a take out menu that doesn't list any pizza but does list a good selection of focaccias reputed to be on " thin herb crusted dough" ..

        2. re: StriperGuy

          Oh, I'd disagree. Lobster tails that are filled to order (not pre filled) are not really tough... a bit chewy, maybe, but not tough. But absolutely flaky. I didn't really come to love these pastries until I tried the ones at Fisichelli's in Lawrence. These are absolutely worth a special trip.

          -----
          Fisichelli's Pastry Shop
          55 Union St, Lawrence, MA 01840

        3. Update : yes the ovens are still there and yes they use them for focaccia. Picked up English peas and although I was late and they were picked over there wasnt a dud in the 3/4 lb..plump and full. Got 1/2 strawberry rhubarb pie ( their home made brand) and taste test ( for purely scientific purposes) rates it a B+...a lttile thick on the crust but good fruit flavor. Also saw sign that said fresh herbs in fridge out back if you ask. Cheeses were more interesting than I thought yesterday incl fresh wedges of parmesean, and gruyere.

          1 Reply
          1. re: capeanne

            We went twice last weekend. The first time we got a muffin (very good and not too big), two sandwiches (very good bread and veggies, forgot cheese on one sandwich), a cookie and a blondie. Everything was great, fresh, good portions. On our second visit we got orzo salad, ipswich butcher chicken breasts, jalapeno cheddar biscuits and Lark Fine Foods olive crackers (so excited to see those again!). The chicken was fabulous, as was the orzo salad. The biscuits were yummy, although we didn't taste any cheddar. The produce, local and Russo's, looked amazing, as did the fresh baked breads and pies. Nice cheese selection and looking forward to trying the focaccias. To me it was a nice cross between Ned's and Marshall Farm stand. The owner seems very nice and we're hoping they do well and stay around a long time.

          2. Got sandwiches to go for the first time today. Won't be able to remember the "names" but both were extremely generous and served on ciabatta. Husb had black forest ham and swiss with lettuce and tomato and a honey mayo and I got the chicken salad ( curry chx sal also available) with lettuce tomato and red oinion. The lettuce and tomato actually tasted like lettuce and tomato vs the usual chilled beyond taste sandwich add on. Also got corn chowder thick with corn and in a thin broth version ..it was good but needed more seasoning . They are expanding meat section and had various packaged sausages and a good looking pork tenderloin. And it was mobbed.

            1. Nice little place, but underwhelmed by my Cuban. Needed some spicing up. I'll definitely visit again, but try something else. Was tempted by the gelato, but maybe next time.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sqboo

                wish they had a better selection of Richardsons ice cream or gelato in pints rather than scoops...seems the Richardsons are kinda mugly flavors....