It’s a daily issue for most of us. Driving home after a tiresome day’s work, a rumbling stomach makes you hunger for a satisfying meal. But you already know by the time you choose a recipe, gather the ingredients, and get to cooking, it’ll be well after your bedtime. Frozen TV dinner it is, yet again.
Enter Balducci’s: the “food lover’s market” so dedicated to simplifying the customer experience that their displays are designed to inspire gourmet meals with just one look. Some Westchesterites may be familiar with Balducci’s in Scarsdale, but last Friday the specialty food store introduced their new Rye Brook location, and at 11,000 square feet, it’s their largest one yet.
Overflowing with top-of-the-line meats, seafood, and recipe-ready vegetables, a trip to Balducci’s is pretty much guaranteed to put your work-exhausted mind at ease — unless you happen to get trapped ogling their monumental cannoli tower or perusing their seemingly endless supply of exclusive ingredients, like the larger-than-your-head jackfruit. Proudly crediting the grocer’s purveyors, Chairman and CEO Judith Spires boasts Balducci’s “150 unique items that are new to the United States, procured so we are the first to have them.”
This is a jackfruit, the largest tree-born fruit and a great source of protein. Note: they are not a suitable substitute for dodgeballs.
According to Rich Durante, Balducci’s President and COO, the store’s layout has been entirely revamped compared to the Scarsdale location. Walk past the end of an aisle and you’ll run into a display showing off hand-cut pastas. Sitting just below are the perfect complementary sauces and hand-cut cheeses to pair with. If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, Balducci’s in-store chefs will gladly lend their opinion for a flawless meal. And in the exceedingly common case you don’t want to cook at all, those same chefs will craft a restaurant-quality dish right before your eyes.
“When a customer comes into the store, we immerse them in a culinary experience, and we want them to leave saying, ‘Wow, that was an epicurean delight,’” says Spires. “Our secret ingredient is our people.”
There’s a bakery featuring Zaro’s bread and other decadent goodies; a café with free WiFi for enjoying said baked delights in comfort; and a floral boutique so you can present your significant other a breathtaking arrangement for when they find out you didn’t bring home any of that dessert you devoured.
And with an in-house catering service, it seems Rye Ridge’s newest occupant really has it all. One step through the door makes clear Balducci’s, as Spires says, puts “one’s passion and love for food at the forefront.” So instead of nuking that frozen Salisbury steak with carrots and peas, you should probably leave your next meal to the professionals.