“The Lamplighter has sampled lobster bisque and chowders from Rhode Island to Maine,” the Haverhill Gazette column The Lamp Post commented in 2012, “but has tasted none better than those at…the Pine River fish market.” Family owned and operated for more than 20 years, Pine River Fish Market earns such accolades by reliably supplying customers with fresh fish and shellfish, groceries, bisques and chowders, and live lobsters and crabs. In the store, maritime dwellers such as haddock, swordfish, conch, shrimp, steamers, and cherrystones—all of which are delivered daily—sit on ice, awaiting the day they’re thawed and can experience a strange new future world. The helpful staffers can also special order any in-season fish and have it ready for pickup the next day.
The knowledgeable technicians at Funk Bros. Complete Auto Repair care for domestic and imported cars under the supervision of the same service-oriented family that founded the shop in 1925. A slew of preventative services, such as oil changes and air-filter replacements, ward off latent malfunctions, and mechanics also tackle full-blown repairs, taking the time to carefully explain each adjustment to customers. Funk Bros. has also been hired to tune up vehicles on movie sets, from stuntmen’s souped-up cars to directors’ limos made from melted award statuettes.
The staff at Golden Goose Market will direct you to the right aisle with a smile. But their role in your shopping trip doesn’t have to end there—they’ll stick by your side to help track down every item in a recipe, and even give suggestions on how to cook it. The extra attention to customers may be one of the reasons why the market has enjoyed such an impressive life span—it opened in 1978. But help with dinner is just one way the upscale store’s staff treats its patrons like royalty. Golden Goose opens at 6 a.m. and stays open until 11 p.m., and even offers complementary delivery to the North End, waterfront, and downtown. But customers might want to make the trip themselves, so they can explore firsthand the colorful array of fruits and veggies stacked in the produce section. Buyers select the freshest produce from all over the world every morning, from seasonal berries to mangos. In the butcher shop, employees trim meat and poultry to customer specifications, and shell out fresh seafood like a mermaid with an overstuffed fridge. Deli staff slice Boar’s head cold cuts and imported Italian cold meats and cheeses to order, and also assemble sandwiches, pizzas, and sushi to-go, while bakers craft muffins and cookies, and display them with fresh bread delivered by local artisan bakers twice every day. And, of course, in the grocery aisles, customers will find all the essentials—milk and bread, frozen foods and chips, paper towels and laundry detergent––they need to get through the week. One last surprise? Golden Goose’s liquor selection, which includes domestic, imported, craft, and local brews, along with local wines and better-known whites and reds. Those unsure which wine to choose can also swing by on Wednesdays from 6—8 p.m. for a weekly wine tasting.
The Zanti family is no stranger to the sea. In 1898, Giuseppe Zanti, Sr., left his tiny Italian fishing village for the more fertile waters of America. When his son, Giuseppe, Jr., heard of the senior Zanti's success on American shores, he too made the trek across the Atlantic to net lobsters, crabs, and fish in Boston Harbor, teaching his own sons along the way. After World War II, Giuseppe, Jr. sensed an oncoming boon in the lobster trade and teamed up with his sons to debut Commercial Lobster, a wholesale business devoted entirely to lobster. Still under the rule of the Zanti family, the Commercial Lobster of today makes up the wholesale branch of Yankee Lobster Fish Market, a full-fledged seafood market. In addition to selling whole live and stuffed lobsters like their predecessors, modern-day Zantis also serve a seafood-centric menu of oysters, clams, and, of course, lobster in the casual, ocean-themed eatery of Yankee Lobster Company. After finally removing the protective rubber bands from his hands, Guy Fieri dubbed the lobster mac ‘n' cheese here “ridiculous” on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
Bacco’s Wine + Cheese offers up exactly what it promises, plus a little more, including a selection of charcuterie items, a variety of pâtés and mousses, craft beers and other items that pair nicely with wine and cheese. The shop has its own wine rating system called the “Wine Guy,” which it uses to describe wines instead of the usual 100-point system. The system breaks wines down into three categories. Wine Guy Value is the first category; these wines are marked for being a good value, no matter what the price. Second is Wine Guy Best Buy, and the third is Wine Guy Favorite. The selection of cheeses is always changing, but is always excellent and customers can ask for a sample. There are wine tastings almost every day and craft beer tastings on Tuesdays. This Back Bay shop is a favorite in the neighborhood.
Step down from its Salem Street entrance into the small North End Fish Market, also known as the Mercato del Mare. The place may be hard to spot at first, but look for the steady stream of hungry locals desperate for a cup of hot New England clam chowder, a lobster roll or sushi – nigiri, sashimi, maki and specialty rolls are all on offer – made by the on-hand sushi chef. Each order is taken to go, as there is no seating inside the market, but that’s ok; the main focus here is the fish market anyway. Look for an impressive daily selection of fresh seafood that varies depending on seasonal availability, with rotating stock that may include halibut, bass, cod, swordfish, haddock and mahi mahi. The shop also offers free oyster shucking lessons every Saturday.