Frank & Maria's Italian Pork Store
10 W. Main St. Bay Shore, New York
Just in time for the season of culinary excess, Bay Shore's friendly little Italian pork store has expanded into a full-blown Italian market. Frank & Maria's, which opened in 2006, took over the adjoining storefront and is now triple the size.
The cases of fresh meat have stayed in the original space. The high-ceilinged new space is home to more salads, more prepared foods, more cheeses and more sausages than ever. A steam table full of entrees and soups ($4.50 a pint) has made the store a popular lunchtime haunt -- there are even tables for about a dozen customers to eat in and, perhaps, enjoy an espresso and pastry.
The grocery shelves are full of imported items, from the arcane (chickpea flour, for making pannelle fritters) to the kooky (cans of Cuoco "condimento per macaroni con sarde," a shortcut to the Sicilian dish of pasta with sardines). There are dozens of varieties of canned tomatoes, including some real bargains: 5-pound, 10-ounce cans of Supremo Italian D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes are $9.99. Co-owner Dominick Salvaggio, who supervises most of the store's cooking, uses a California brand, Alta Cucina, which the store sells in 6-pound, 7-ounce cans for $8.99.
Pasta? "Forget about it!" says Frank Salvaggio, Dominick's brother and partner. "A store like mine, the biggest items are tomatoes and pasta. We gotta have variety." He's brought in pastas from all over Italy, from the fancy (Mancini from the Marche region of central Italy, Giuseppe Afeltra from Naples, both about $7 a pound) to everyday brands such as Barilla, Delverde and Rummo. He's pleased to carry Tomasello and Poiatti, two brands that, like the Salvaggio family, hail from Sicily.
Photo: Dominick Salvaggio, left, and Frank and Maria Salvaggio own Frank & Maria's Mercato in Bay Shore. (Nov. 16, 2012)