Hoping to revive the culture of the neighborhood butcher shop, with its personalized service, attention to detail, and artful products, restaurant-industry veterans Justin Rosberg and Jason Parent took a gamble on their first New Hampshire butcher shop in 2003. Dubbed The Meat House, their store quickly earned a foodie following, spawning additional franchise locations across the country. Today, The Meat House?s Mission Viejo location stocks fine cheeses, prepared side dishes, other gourmet grocery items, and hundreds of wines alongside the usual selection of traditional and exotic meats. Butchers also explain how to prepare each hand-carved cut of meat, sharing recipes, best slicing practices, and cooking techniques for giving pork chops the flavor of justice.
Before you even get inside, Russo’s assaults the senses with a colorful spread of its bounty. Fresh fruit, veggies, flowers, and plants line baskets and bins, waiting patiently to be scooped up and carried home or lobbed at a rival landscaper. Inside, the temptations only get stronger as local eggs and milk, cured and fresh meats, and imported and domestic cheeses call out to browsing shoppers. It’s all in homage to founder Antonio Russo, who blazed the trail for neighborhood grocers more than 75 years ago. That’s when he first peddled the fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and beans he grew in his own garden to local shoppers. Today, his namesake store honors Russo’s legacy by selling only the freshest meats, produce, and groceries—both to individual customers and popular Boston restaurants. The shop's personal ties to local farmers and manufacturers mean everything, from bok choy and mushrooms to the bakery’s bread ingredients, arrives as fresh as the day it was imagined into being by a distracted third grader. Russo’s also caters parties with upscale hors d’ouevres, fruit platters, and hot entrées.
The Meat Spot has had plenty of time to perfect the art of hand-trimming a filet mignon—it’s been in business for more than 80 years. In that time, it's earned a reputation as a purveyor of high quality, custom-butchered meats, selling only beef, lamb, chicken, and pork that is graded choice or higher, and cutting each order to the fit the customer's specifications or the shape of their favorite state. But Meat Spot's expertise isn't limited to crown roasts or sirloin strips––during its eight decades in business, the shop's inventory has expanded to include everything from cold cuts and cheeses, to spice rubs and marinades, to crackers and pastas. They keep their ovens fired up, too, baking fresh bread, coffee cakes, and cookies and cooking up a variety of prepared foods to accompany their made-to-order salads and sandwiches made with Boar's Head deli meats.
Formaggio is a gourmand's paradise that was named Best Cheese Shop in 2009 by Boston magazine and Best Gourmet Food Shop in 2010 by the Improper Bostonian. Its California mono-varietal extra-virgin olive oil, which you will receive with this Groupon, is cookable, dippable, and nearly sippable. Though Formaggio offers a wide range of imported gourmet spices, pastas, and sauces, the delectable delicatessen is best known for its great cheese wall, which contains hundreds of gourmet artisan cheeses. An in-house belowground cheese cave keeps the entire cheese stock fresh while it is taught to read, write, and count cards. Savor a variety such as Boule de Quercy, a goat's milk cheese topped with a wild raspberry leaf (5 oz. $9.95), or the strong-flavored provolone vernengo ($16.48 per half-pound). Stock and pricing may vary.
The co-owners of Central Bottle Wine + Provisions only spent one week in Venice, but that was all they needed to fall in love with the traditional Italian enoteca. They brought the concept of a regional wine shop back to Boston in the form of Central Bottle, which showcases sustainable wines from small producers.
With black-and-white checkerboard floors, fire-engine red booths, and vintage aluminum signage advertising quirky slogans, The Medford Square Diner cuts a decidedly classic-diner profile. But there's also abstract art and new furnishings that add a touch of modernity. This duality between classic and modern is reflected in the menu as well. Classic diner dishes come with little gourmet twists?think avocado, pear, and goat cheese omelets, brioche french toast, or mascarpone pancakes. The classics are well-represented too in meals like the Lumber Jack with pancakes, bacon, sausage, and eggs. The lunch and dinner menu follows suit; cooks dish out burgers, paninis, pasta dishes, and wraps. There's also a daily buffet and a full kids menu to keep little ones from getting cranky and filling up on their own tears.