I grew up spending my summers in Italy and have vivid memories of cooking delectable meals with my grandmother. Living in Washington, I remember getting excited every time a new Italian restaurant opened hoping it would be on par with nonna's cooking. Sadly, they all let me down until Griffin Market opened in 2008.
Owned and operated by Riccardo and Laura Bonino, this quintessential Italian market and wine shop is located on the corner of 28th and P Sts.
The true gem of this place is the astounding take-out meals Laura prepares daily. A former sous chef at the now closed Laboratorio del Galileo, Laura makes some of the best Italian food I have had in the United States.
Riccardo and Laura's story reads like a fairy tale. They met at Galileo when he became general manager. He is from the Piedmont region of Italy and had a background in Finance. She, an American engineer, who dreamt of cooking. As Riccardo says, "When Griffin Market became available we understood it was our chance. We wanted a business in which both of us could be involved and that would allow us to do what we liked the most. " And the rest, well, That's Amore!
So how does one know what Laura is cooking? Easy. Go to the Griffin Market Blog at www.griffinmarket.blogspot. You can be added to their distribution list where you'll get a daily e-mail, with her menu for the day. They usually have a choice of three appetizers, three main courses and a dessert. Phone or e-mail before 5 p.m. and place your order for evening pick-up. Her delicacies range from Zucchini Blossom Frittata ($6.00) to Fregola - Sardinian Pasta with Asparagus & Gorgonzola ($14.00) to Beef Braised in Barolo wine served with Red Potatoes ($15.00). Having a dinner party and want to serve the best Lasagne alla Bolognese you've ever had? E-mail Riccardo a few days ahead of time and you can pick it up either frozen or cooked. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Griffin Market is an authentic Italian neighborhood store in the middle of Georgetown. When you walk in, you'll find Riccardo at the register chatting with the customers and Laura behind the food counter, cooking. Their shelves are stocked with hard to find Italian delicacies and an array of wines that would make any sommelier jealous. "We see a lot of people at the store, some locals some not, some regulars, some occasional. The store is our home, when you come to Griffin Market it's like coming to our place", says Riccardo.
Now if I could only convince Riccardo to open a tad earlier so I could get my macchiato and cornetto fix that would make the world a better place. Buon Appetito!