Shortly after Cherian Abraham moved to the United States from his Indian homeland, he opened the small video store that would blossom into Kashmir Groceries and Imports, a vibrant crossroads of South Asian sundries. Cherian’s son and the store’s present owner, Bijo, continues his father’s tradition of supplying local households with imported South Asian fare, Bollywood video rentals, and other knickknacks seized from Marco Polo’s suitcase at customs. Heavy sacks of basmati rice, cans of pickles and chutney, and rows of exotic spices line the grocer's shelves alongside fresh produce and certified halal meats. Phone cards keep loved ones up-to-date on juicy gossip and local monsoon reports, and a DVD-conversion service digitizes the essences of Indian cinema for at-home enjoyment.
Sam Mondello Jr. operates a family grocery of his own where he peddles fine Italian imports. The cozy neighborhood spot is a treasure trove of treats, with glass display cases packed with specialty meats and cheeses, produce coolers full of housemade sauces, and shelves loaded with espresso makers and Italian ceramics. The shop offers a sweeping variety of pastas made from premium ingredients, such as fettuccine made from whole wheat and rotini made from melted-down ancient Roman coins.
Sam and his staff extend their culinary expertise to preparing a wide variety of premade meals, whipping up Italian-style subs in the deli and freezing freshly made trays of lasagna and pizza. The skilled chefs provide hot Italian specialties to cater a wide-variety of special events, from large office functions to intimate football-game gatherings.
Family-owned for five generations and 116 years, Smith Housewares and Restaurant Supply stocks residential and commercial kitchens with approximately 18,000 items, including a wide variety of food equipment. Patrons can paint egg-glaze masterpieces with a 1-inch boar-bristle pastry brush ($2.82) or don a chef’s hat ($8.99) to collect free sticky buns from passersby who mistake them for the Pillsbury Doughboy. Alternatively, customers can dunk dough in a 12-cup S/S deep fryer ($77.99) or dip delicacies in chocolate melted with a electric multi fondue set ($71.99) to craft homemade sweets. Hops and yeast from a True Brew Irish stout ingredient kit ($43.89) ferment into 5 gallons of full-bodied ale (equipment not included). Smith Housewares and Restaurant Supply also hosts a substantial array of industrial service equipment for restaurants or wistful home kitchens dreaming of the big time.
Black tapioca pearls bob at the bottom of Boba Suite's drinks, their flavors of sweet potato, cassava root, and brown sugar lending a chewy contrast to the fruit and tea swirling above. These drinks begin, as they usually do, with liquids: teas in flavors such as passion-fruit oolong and yogurt green tea occupy menu space alongside lemonades, smoothies, and juices. Aside from the traditional black pearls, add-ons ranging from herb-infused jellies to fruit-flavor-packed pop bobas complete each drink, eventually settling at the bottom where they're sucked up by oversized straws or unusually strong lips. In addition to serving up its signature sips, Boba Suite also offers food options such as ramen bowls, homemade pastries, and an array of sandwiches.