This mini-grocery in the sweet former Hillary's spot offers up a taste of Euro neighborhood class, reminding you that, even on a Tuesday, cooking and eating should be a full-on sensory treat. Brother-and-sister foodies George Djurovic and Angie Kongabel aim to tempt both the tastebuds and the imaginations of the culinarily-curious while keeping things easy and affordable for the everyday cook.
A wooden table in the shop's entryway displays Djurovic's collection of gorgeous cookbooks, which you're welcome to thumb through for last-minute inspiration. Kongabel, who spent years managing catering at the Four Seasons, artfully arranges fruits, vegetables, spices, oils and candies in baskets, bunches and piles, so that shopping for dinner feels a lot like shopping for jewelry. Their stock is "ingredients," rather than products, so don't expect to find packaged foods ready-to-go; come instead for tasty imported treats like the premium bricks of chocolate, anchovies and tea biscuits that line the minimalist silver shelves.
The centerpiece is an open kitchen, where chef Djurovic invites you to watch him at work. Encircling his prep space are cases displaying fresh cuts of meat, a few choice fish, and luscious (and surprisingly cheap) cheeses. Djurovic is particularly proud of his fish and seafood offerings, which change daily, and include less-common finds like John Dory, monkfish and dry-packed wild scallops. The fish remain whole until you ask him to cut and wrap the fillets for you. He loves showing customers the full story behind their food and is happy to offer suggestions or quick demos for anyone who has questions.
For the times you'd rather someone else did the cooking, Djurovic prepares one lunch and one dinner offering every day for carryout, generally under $10. August also serves rich coffee and pastries behind the checkout for those seeking a boost pre- or post-commute. Beautiful handmade aprons, created by Djurovic and Kongabel's mother, decorate the walls, and you can take them home starting at $40.
Centerstage Reviewer: Julia Steinberger