Ah, Belmont. A leafy suburb known for majestic abodes, Mitt Romney, and . . . food? Maybe soon: The small town center has gotten a culinary infusion in recent months, with the addition of a Foodie’s Market, Local Root cookware shop, and an upcoming American restaurant from noted chef Dante de Magistris.
This stretch of Leonard Street was formerly home to a Macy’s. Goodbye, cotton-poly blends; hello, organic produce.
Foodie’s opened a 13,000-square-foot store on the site in May and plans a grand opening celebration at the end of August. The market has other branches in South Boston, the South End, and Duxbury, and it’s a favorite for chefs and amateur gastronomes thanks to its sprawling organic produce selection, scratch-made prepared foods, and — this is important — beer and wine selection. The market has a house chef and an on-site butcher.
Foodie’s focuses on customer service, says store manager Bob McPhail.
“If you can’t find what you want, just ask, and we’ll special order it for you,” he says.
There’s also delivery service and curbside grocery pickup.
Of course, you’ll need cookware to prepare such delicacies. Enter Local Root, a kitchenware shop that had been in Cambridge’s Observatory Hill area since 2012 and within sister property Didrik’s before that, known for funky home furnishings.
Prowling for a paring knife? Serving spoons? Slicers, graters, peelers? A Dutch oven, perhaps? This is your place. Owner Jonathan Henke is also quick to point out that the two-story shop will sell the Big Green Egg, a ceramic kamado-style charcoal grill that resembles a plump avocado — a coveted staple among meat mavens.
“We have people visiting us from out of the country because they like our mix of products,” says Henke, who also runs a Newton store. He’s a particular fan of Local Root’s extensive selection of sleek Alessi La Cintura di Orione stainless steel and aluminum cookware.
Another perk? Knife sharpening. Hand over your weary, your dull, and your battered straight-edge kitchen knives, and Henke and crew will happily give them a makeover.
Then go grab a beer.
Dante de Magistris and his brothers, Damian and Filippo, will open an unnamed 135-seat restaurant on the same block, filling a neighborhood need for burgers and drinks. He’s known for Italian food at il Casale in Belmont and in Lexington and at dante inside Cambridge’s Royal Sonesta hotel, but the latest restaurant will be a departure, at the request of his regulars.
“We asked our Belmont customers what they might be hoping for, and almost everyone said, ‘Let’s have a big bar with burgers and prime rib. We’re looking for great, everyday American food,’ ” he says.
These shops join other independent businesses like Rancatore’s ice cream and the new Belmont Books, home to the Black Bear Café.
“I think that what’s happening in Belmont Center is one of the most exciting developments in retail anywhere around. All of these things in one place, in a real town center setting, is quite remarkable these days,” says Henke.
Kara Baskin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.