You just can’t top a traditional neighborhood market. Far from the sterile sea of flood lighting and wide aisles typical of a conventional grocery store, a local market provides what you need in a much more personal, inviting atmosphere. Stocking groceries, imported specialties and freshly prepared delicacies, Little Italy’s Murray Hill Market (2072 Murray Hill Rd., 216-791-1900, murrayhillmarket.net) does just that.
Situated in a renovated brick building at the corner of Murray Hill Road and Paul Avenue, the market seeks to bring back the tradition of shopping at a store with personality and consistency. Owner and operator Michele Iacobelli Buckholtz promotes local, natural and organic products whenever possible, with healthy alternatives and options for special dietary preferences. There’s also a nice selection of conventional products available for sale. It’s just the right mix, really.
Upstairs you’ll find a quality selection of mid-priced wines, over 90 percent of which is Italian. There’s also a cozy nook with seating, a fireplace and an eclectic collection of cookbooks to peruse. The basement is home to a commercial kitchen, where food is made fresh daily.
The market’s main draw is its selection of house-made sandwiches, soups and salads. Enticing examples include a porchetta sandwich, featuring Italian pulled pork, seared kale, toasted garlic and parmesan, and a classic Italian sub layered with sopressata, prosciutto, capicola, red peppers and provolone.
Many components of the deli menu are sourced locally from area companies. Breads are delivered fresh from On the Rise Bakery and goat cheese is provided by Mackenzie Creamery. “If we don’t make it, we’ll find the best that does,” says Buckholtz.
The store draws many regulars, including those who live and work in the area along with a strong student population. The shop also sees plenty of new faces, especially in summer when festivals and events welcome crowds to the area.
Buckholtz says the store’s prime location makes it a natural destination — no advertisement needed. “People have fond memories of walking around Little Italy,” she says. “When customers come here, they have already chosen the neighborhood. We are just icing on the cake.”