Originally published in D-Tales here.
I was just at Zaccaro's Market again for the first time since the last time...which was back when they opened...whenever that was...the months blur.
Anyway, I decided to swing by to see what's new, what's changed, what's good, what's better. And what did I find?
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick!
Yep, Kwame also decided to swing by the Market to check it out. He's been there several times before, though, as I gathered through casually chatting with him. Charming guy; very personable. Good sense of humor, too:
Mayor Kilpatrick: "How are you today?"
D-Tales: "Good; how about you?"
MK: "Oh...well, you know, as good as can be!" (Laughs)
D-Tales: "Like with the heat outside?" (Also laughing)
MK: "Well, I don't so much mind the heat outside!"
A shared knowing laugh ensued.
You gotta give it to him...he, too, has moxy. And it was pretty funny...
As for Zaccaro's, I found that the place has indeed changed since the first time I was in there.
The cheese counter is finally up to snuff--there are brief lists taped to the outer glass which list the cheeses by type (washed rind, French cream, blue-veined, etc.) as well as the price per pound. I walked out with some Tallegio and Borgonzola (yes, with a "B"--it's Canadian...um, not that that explains it or anything), which made me very happy. Not a HUGE huge selection, but just funky enough to be noteworthy.
They also finally sell wine, which I knew about but still hadn't made the trek ALL THE WAY to Midtown to investigate.
They've got an adorable little wine cellar in the back with a small but varied selection of wines. They do stock of fair share of Michigan-made wines, in keeping with their promise of local-centric items (they also sell Vivio's famous Bloody Mary mix, as well as Snug Harbor's, a restaurant I've been to out in Grand Haven and was super-geeked to see represented there). I didn't take as much time to peruse the wines as I would have liked since I didn't want my cheeses to get too warm, but a brief scan showed that most wines are priced under $20.00 (hell, most are under $15.00), the selection is very boutique with a wide assortment of producers and varietals, and they do have the occasional stand-out big name such as an Amarone della Valpolicella priced at $69.00 (which is in the median range for this style).
The resident sommelier is very friendly and eager to assist you with your wine purchase and just simply speak about the wines and show you other wines you might be interested in based on your selections. Zaccaro's also offers 15% off wine purchases of 6 bottles or more--perfect for stocking the cellar, building a collection, throwing a party, or just keeping your personal stash stocked for the next month (I mean, hey, if you're going to drink it anyway...).
There is also an olive bar by the wine cellar, which I don't know if I just didn't notice it before but hey--kinda cool. Made me want a martini. And Meditteranean food.
The staff at Zaccaro's was very friendly, too--even moreso than I remember from last time (they were friendly then but also seemed a bit jittery). The guys at the deli counter were especially helpful and willing to chat, as were the people working the cash registers. They all made me feel right at home. I left there feeling less like I just went shopping at a high-end market and more like I had just made my weekly visit to my local mom-and-pop grocer where everyone knows my name and asks about my job and family.
So, on a second go-round, I'm much more impressed than I was previously and look forward to going back. AND they're open later than R. Hirt (which is actually why I went there in the first place). AND the mayor shops there...which some of you may or may not care about, even violently so, but I was still like "OMFG it's the mayor!"