Ms. VI called me this morning, in the middle of her thanksgiving shopping to tell me that the clemintimes that were $7.99 at whole food and $5.99 at trader joe's were $2.99 at Caputo's. This prompted me, at long last, to write up Caputo's--that and the fact that several places in the same neighborhood have been discussed in the pumpkin ravioli thread below.
Caputo's Food Market in Elmwood Park, began as a produce market, but has since expanded into a full-service Italian-orientated emporium. Produce is still the focus of the store. While you will not find the variety and localness of a great farmer's market, you will still find better, fresher, and more varied produce than any where else I know, including Fox & Obel.
There is a special emphasis on Italian type of stuff. In season, you will find fresh almonds, tiny artichokes, brocoli rabe, cardoons, dandeleion greens, prickly pears, etc. There are always a selection of other "ethnic" stuff including long beans, hot peppers, yuca and bok choy.
Beyond the produce, Caputo's carries both standard grocery fare and hard to find delicacies. Ever see big bushells of live snails (ok, ever see them outside chinatown)? Salt cured anchovies, freshly made mozzarella, a full assortment of home-made sausages all tempt. An island near the meat selection carries a variety of pastries such as canoli, sfogliateli, tiramisu and other creamy, flaky wonders. There are loaves of bread and rolls from more Italian bakers that you ever knew about. All of the usual Italian canned and bottled goods are present as well as a large selection of Polish goods.
On top of the great selection is the aforementioned prices. As the clemintimes example above show, you will rarely find lower prices for equivilant items. No better value can be found in the meat department. Almost once a week this summer, I grilled their skirt steaks, which could often be found for as low as $2.49 a pound ($3.99 regular). Compare again, to whole food.
For some of the most fun shopping in the Chicago area, try Caputo's Food Market
2558 N. Harlem
Elmood Park, IL
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