Image: Alison Klein

In 1946, in the lower level of Pike Place Market, Peter DeLaurenti opened Pete’s Italian Grocery, a shop that gave many postwar patrons their first tangy tastes of feta and kasseri cheeses. By the time the family business upgraded to a prominent two-story home on First Avenue, these once novel offerings had become staples—we counted on DeLaurenti for fresh mozzarella and chianti, anise-laced cookies and Umbrian olive oil.

We count on it still. I work at an office in Pike Place Market, and DeLaurenti is its de facto cafeteria—I’ve personally ordered lunch there more than 600 times. So familiar are those Sicilian-style pizza slices and cured egg yolk–topped salads, I confess I take them for granted, the way one does a steadily generous spouse.

But a few evenings ago, I scurried up the stairs to the store’s wine section, narrowly beating the grocer’s 6pm close. Just as the lunch staff ensure I won’t pass out during a PowerPoint presentation, the wine crew picks out the most on-point party drinks. At home I popped the suggested bottle—a natural pinot noir rosé from Oregon—and poured it into glasses for my guests. It tasted like the ripest strawberries but also kombucha, and its funky verve sent a spark through the room. DeLaurenti is more than just reliably excellent. It will still surprise you, too.

Image: Alison Klein

 

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