Great news for North Raleigh! Antonio’s Gourmet Market is now open at the shiny new Lafayette Village off Falls of the Neuse. There are other shops (particularly Savory Spice Shop) and restaurants (Paparazzi) there I also can’t wait to experience. In fact, I meant to do that last Friday evening when I visited Antonio’s — but I lingered so long I ran out of time.
I was thinking that Antonio’s would be a small, pricey food shop with limited specialty offerings — and would’ve been satisfied with that. But it’s far larger than I expected. Kind of like Fresh Market, but better.
I love that it’s locally owned and not a chain. I love how clean and beautiful it is. I love the products. And I love the service.
I can’t tell you how many employees spoke to me and offered to help or answer questions — but not in a pushy or otherwise irritating way. Maybe it was because it was the shop’s inaugural week, but I have a feeling the vibe won’t change much over time. Antonio himself (and several members of his family) chatted with me and explained that the store’s primary focus is quality and service.
Seven different kinds of butter. Gorgeous produce. Prime and choice meats, cut to order on premises by an honest-to-goodness butcher. Kobe burgers. House-made sausages. Four homemade soups (I sampled the tomato fennel — yum). Roasted chickens and brick oven pizzas.
The pastry case held some exquisite-looking gems — including cupcakes and brownies by Audra’s Cakes and Creations, one of my favorites. (Didn’t know you made brownies, Audra. Delicious!)
The wine selection is impressive and unique for this area. And detailed tasting descriptions — and often, food pairing suggestions — are provided for each wine.
I counted 12 ready-to-take-and-eat Italian dishes in the deli case, including three different lasagnas and two types of meatballs.
One feature I plan to take advantage of is the prepared-foods-dinners-for-two: choice of entree, side, salad and dessert, priced from $17.95-21.95 depending on the entree (veal dishes are more, for instance).
Another cool service: Antonio’s will deliver to house-bound elderly and disabled clientele.
All this, for extremely reasonable prices.
I plan to shop there frequently. Later this week, for fish.