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Jul 31, 2009 11:12 PM

Upscale shops - Dean & Deluca type

I will visit Boston in August and I would like to know if there's an equivalent to Dean & Deluca.
Any large farmers market?


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  1. You might enjoy Formaggio. It is not as large as Dean & Deluca but it is every bit as serious about its food. It is not limited to cheese, as its name may seem to imply.

    Apropos farmers markets, instead of having a big central market, there are a great many markets in towns and neighborhoods. You can literally go to one any day you want to. Boston does have the remnants of what used to be a very traditional market area in the form of Haymarket and Quincy Market (which are right next to each other) but Haymarket's vendors are today's version of pushcart vendors (not farmers) and Quincy Market was turned into a tourist destination / indoor-outdoor shopping mall more than 30 years ago.

    Having grown up in New York City, one thing I really appreciate about Boston is how easy it is to literally go to a farm and get the freshest possible produce. August is peak season for many local crops. Enjoy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: PinchOfSalt

      I'd take Formaggio over Dean and Deluca any day. Totally different phenomena, but I'd still take Formaggio.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        I agree with you completely, StriperGuy. Formaggio may lack the upscale aesthetic of Dean & Deluca, but it's far better substantively.

    2. There's also Savenor's in Cambridge - again, different from Dean & Deluca but a great source for high-end and exotic meats and things like freshly-rendered goose & duck fat. It's one of the main places where Julia Child used to shop.

      Savenor's Market
      92 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA

      1 Reply
      1. re: BobB

        they have a second store on beacon hill, charles st., too.

      2. As a big fan of both Formaggio and D and D I'll say that No, Formaggio is nothing like D and D. Much smaller, much less inventory, much more narrow in focus.

        1. Not quite the level of D&D, Russo's in Watertown is a bit similar as well.

          Heck, even in NYC I would much rather Zabar's, Fairway, or even Citarella over D&D.

          8 Replies
          1. re: StriperGuy

            That's an interesting comparison, StriperGuy. From the point of view of market segment and brand, there is quite a contrast:

            Russo's: mid-market, high quality-to-price ratio,brand is focused on diverse, American and ethnic food many people might cook and serve any day, with a good (but by no means complete) range of specialty items to support that goal

            D&D: high-end, good quality with very high prices, brand is focused on specialty and prestige items with a supporting cast of "regular" food

            To me the question here is whether the OP wants to go shopping for hard-to-find specialty items (the main reason I might visit D&D while in NYC) or get some broader sense of the Boston food/cooking culture. if it is the latter, I would definitely send the OP to Russo's, Formaggio, maybe Savenor's, definitely a farmer's market, and maybe even a local farm such as Wilson's. One thing I love about this area is how easy it is for a lot of us to actually shop at real farmstands.

            1. re: PinchOfSalt

              i'm always fascinated that russo's pops up as often as it does. i do not own a car and many tourists visiting the city wisely opt out of renting one. i just logged on to the mbta website triplanner.

              from the airport station, which is my usual, the website offered that it would take over an hour, and several buses(in fact, nearly 2 hours and 5 buses!!!, but i know going into town is faster -- however an out-of-towner would not). from government center, it was a 13-minute walk to access the correct bus then a 30-minute ride. so 45 minutes in a perfect world, which as we all know is always the case with our utopian mbta.

              what tourist has time do that? russo's might as well be on the moon.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                We have no idea where the OP is staying or if he or she will have a car. There are plenty of important tourist destinations, such as various locations associated with the battle of Lexington and Concord, or all the interesting things to do on the North Shore (Salem or Gloucester area, anyone?), that are outside of Boston Proper and difficult to reach via the T. So, some tourists may indeed want to rent a car, perhaps only for some of the time they are here, or be open to taking taxis to get where they want to go. It would be a shame if we assumed that all tourists would only take the T and limited our suggestions to an audience that might really appreciate the full range of possibilities here.

                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                  you're right, we don't know where the op is staying.

                  actually, salem and the north shore, as well as concord, are all on the commuter rail -- very easily accessed by train, and often faster by train because of traffic.

                  there are several middle eastern markets on blackmarket street in haymarket as far as that goes, as well as that very eccentric syrian store on shawmut ave in the south end. all much closer to other popular destinations for tourists, like the north end and copley square

                  i guess i just think of boston and cambridge as walking cities and if i were visiting (as much as i obviously do love food) would have very little interest in a $50 cab ride or spending 3 hours on the t to buy pomegranate molasses. just me, lol, i guess. even driving, it's nearly 10 miles from downtown. it just seems disingenuous to recommend something so far away and removed from everything else.

                  my apologies if i seem combative, that is not my intent, but i *live* here and think of it as too much of a hassle to get to watertown.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Hmmm well when people from other areas ask me where I live I say I live in Boston. In reality I live in Belmont - and can easily T into downtown Boston. (The 73 bus stops about a block from my home). At the same time, Russo's is a quick 5 minute or so drive for me. So there are some areas in the Boston area that are at once close to Boston proper and close to locations that are not so easily reached via the T. For example, Arlington and Watertown are the same way.

                    Back to the main point, we do not know where the OP is staying. It's not necessarily downtown. There are plenty of hotels near 128 that may have better room rates than downtown, for example. What is far away and "removed from everything else" really is a matter of context - where you are. So no, I would never say that StriperGuy was disingenuous for recommending Russo's as a potential spot to visit.

                    By the way, did you know that the population of metropolitan Boston is 4.5 million (see while the population of Boston itself is only about 600,000? Cambridge is about 100,000. So, all in all, the number of people who live in the "walkable" part of metro Boston is a small fraction of the overall population.

                2. re: hotoynoodle

                  With Zipcar in more than 50 cities, someone visiting Boston might be a Zipcar member and able to take a car for a few hours to visit both Russo's and the Middle Eastern Markets in Watertown. That is a fun outing that I do a few times a year.


                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I think you have a pretty car-free view of the universe that is not necessarily so common.

                    Within the last month I have had three friends visitting "Boston" all had cars. They stayed in Belmont, Magnolia, and Newton, two of which are pretty darned close to Russo's.

                    Much of the world does drive, and when chowhounding around Boston it can be a real help. Heck heaven forbid you want to get from Brighton to West Roxbury (both part of the city of Boston) by T, you are in for quite a trek. 90 minutes according to the T's trip planner.

                  2. re: PinchOfSalt

                    I agree completely. There really is nothing quite like like DD in beantown, that said, even when I am in NYC I never hit it.

                    To Hotoynoodle below, I agree Russo's is not very T accessible, but many visitors do have cars so...

                3. Others have covered the D&D type places. The Cambridge location of Formaggio is larger and I think better stocked than the Boston one -- here's what they have:

                  As for farmer's markets, Haymarket is an enormous produce market and right downtown, although perhaps not what you're looking for when you say "farmers market." (It's sprawling and filthy, but you can get amazing deals on produce if you get there early enough).

                  My favorite farmer's market is in Coolidge Corner in Brookline on Thursdays from 130 - ~7.

                  There's also a good one in Davis Square in Somerville (Wednesday 12-6).

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: TroyOLeary

                    Hi Thanks for all the leads. I have a car but having experienced Boston traffic years ago, it will stay at the hotel on Battery Wharf as much as possible. North End I guess?

                    Let's go for upscale and 'what I would not find anywhere else but in Boston or at least not in Montreal'. Russo seems to federate everybody? Thanks a lot. Much appreciated

                    1. re: tohtem

                      A few places you might want to check on foot from Battery Wharf..a new wine shop opened recently across the street from you..Bottle; run bu Kevin..formerly of Wine Bottega. On Richmond St, there's Cirace's Liquor, owner is very knowledgeable on Italian wines..beautiful old shop. Continue up Richmond (away from the harbor) and check out Salumeria Italiana, cheese, cold cuts, other italian specialties. If you want to get a good feel for the area, continue on Richmond and cross Hanover. The street turns into Parmenter St. You won't be buying but Alba's Produce. continue on the street and Sulmona's Butcher Shop..left on Salem and Mercato del Mare...get a D&D sample; just not under 1 roof.

                      Savenor's Market on Charles St isn't a long walk and it's got a great selection of prime, waygu beef and various game meats.

                      In your original post, it's not clear if you want to shop or just look at the foods like in D&D. I can visit great food shops as entertainment and used to walk through D&D or Balducci's years ago when visiting NYC and I think I gave you a good itinerary. Salumeria or the wine shops are certainly easy enough to buy and eat/drink things.

                      1. re: 9lives

                        on the corner of parmenter and salem is polcari's. a time machine kind of place for dried herbs and spices, coffees, as well as oils and italian condiments.

                      2. re: tohtem

                        Check out J Pace in the NE as well for great Italian specialties and grocery.

                        1. re: Gabatta

                          yes, J Pace and that brings you a little closer to Savenor's. If it's M-Thur..non Haymarket Days, you might want tocheck out the Middle Eastern markets in Haymarket. Not upscale, but a peek into a different cuisine and culture. Don't know if that's readily available in Montreal.