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BEST ITALIAN GROCERY Minneapolis 2002 - - CLOSED

335 University Ave. E.

St. Paul, MN 55101

651-224-1816

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All three of our local old-time Italian markets kick ass. Cossetta's does, with its big-party atmosphere, its line of red sauce, its dine-in regulars, and the kids frolicking on the staircases that lead to the upstairs dining rooms. Delmonico's does, with its teeny-tiny, jammed aisles of anisette cookies, home-packed pickled peppers, and tins of pumpkin spice from the Eisenhower administration. And Buon Giorno does too. It's just that Buon Giorno kicks ass more comprehensively than anyone else: homemade spicy sausage; vast rows of jars of imported olives; cheeses from all over Italy; more sorts of jars of giardiniera than seems at all likely; a couple of hundred bottlings of Italian wine; frozen trays of house-made lasagna, marinara, and ravioli; and, of course, the best sub sandwiches in town. We already feel nostalgic about the place, as this time next year the majority of the operation, rechristened Buon Giorno Italia, will be relocated to spanking-new quarters south of the city, where Highway 13 meets I-35E. Sigh. We know it's progress and all, but we're still going to miss seeing the old men shuffling over those ugly floors and squeezing past couples with their brows knit as they try to figure out the difference between this can of imported tuna in olive oil and that one. If you feel like you'll miss it too, best get in before the summer. This time next year the old kick-ass, kinda grimy, crowded old place will be nothing but the Buon Giorno sandwich shop.

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