Peer through the window of Pagu, a beloved Cambridge restaurant, and you’ll see long wooden tables strewn with sacks of flour, boxes of baking powder, dried pasta, and beautiful produce. The display of groceries fits the time. When the pandemic forced restaurants to close for dine-in eating, chef-owner Tracy Chang launched an online store, Pagu Market, and sells the restaurant’s provisions reduced to household sizes. Many restaurants across the country are doing the same to generate revenue. It’s a coup for shoppers, for chefs have access to superb brands retailers seldom stock. You’ll find bags of Heckers high-quality unbleached flour and King Arthur’s special patent flour, farm-fresh milk and yogurt from Ronnybrook Farm Dairy in Hudson, N.Y., organic eggs from Farmer Hen House, produced at Amish family farms in Iowa. Housemade items are among the dozens available — cocktail kits, hot sauce, peanut butter, blackberry jam, and matcha chocolate cookie dough. You can fill your freezer with marinated grass-fed ribeyes, or pick up a pound or two of miso sake marinated black cod. Vegetables come from local farms. Chang says she checked prices at stores and set equal or, sometimes, lower costs. For one-click checkout, prepared foods are listed here, too: inventive pizzas, one with a squid ink crust topped with tender, fried calamari; a dish of spicy hand-pulled noodles; whole roasted chicken dinners. She was inspired to introduce the market when a friend asked to buy flour and began buying quantities for her friends. “It turned into a bigger idea to supply not only flour but yeast and eggs and affordable, delicious groceries to our community,” says Chang. The restaurant’s patio is open for outdoor dining but Chang plans to keep Pagu Market going. To order for contactless pickup and delivery information, go to www.gopagu.com/pagu-grocer.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.