Volume 75, Number 31 | December 21 - 27, 2005

Villager photos by Elisabeth Robert

Balducci’s is back

Balducci’s has returned Downtown to a new location at 14th St. and Eighth Ave., marking its grand opening last Thursday morning with a ribbon- and baguette-cutting ceremony. Above from left, Andy Balducci; Mark Ordan, Balducci’s president and C.E.O.; Nina Balducci; Pascal Jubault; and cutting the baguette, Brett Hardman, head of Balducci’s construction. Below right, Nina and Andy Balducci, who ran the original Balducci’s on Sixth Ave. for more than 50 years before selling the store in 1999.

“To people who grew up in New York, as I did, Balducci’s was always the food mecca,” Ordan said. “The new Balducci’s will restore and extend that reputation, with specialty and prepared food offerings that are better than anything else around — in a truly grand setting.”

The store is located in the historic former New York Savings Bank building at 81 Eighth Ave. Built in 1897, the 8,000-square-foot space features a soaring domed ceiling, Sienna marble pilasters and stained-glass windows. Balducci’s was founded in 1916 as a fruit-and-vegetable stand manned by Louis “Pop” Balducci. The stand acquired a reputation for high-quality service and selection and spawned a succession of storefronts along Greenwich Ave. In 1972, the market moved to Ninth St. and Sixth Ave. and remained there until it was purchased in 1999. Today, there are Balducci’s stores up and down the East Coast and in Connecticut.

Named Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market, the new 14th St. store features an array of gourmet goods, including coffee, nuts, cheese, pasta and fish in addition to a selection of prepared foods. Fish is steamed to order, or “If you want it grilled, they’ll grill it for you,” said Steven Hall, a Balducci’s representative. According to Hall, New York City-specific touches include Katz’s pastrami and corned beef at the deli counter, and the awning of the original storefront on display along with photos upstairs.

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