New York City Grocer Andy Balducci Dead at 92

Balducci changed the way New Yorkers buy groceries

Andy Balducci, who helped pioneer Balducci’s premium grocery store in New York City, has died at the age of 92.

Andy Balducci of specialty grocer Balducci’s has died at the age of 92, Eater reports. In 1946, the local legend helped his father run a fruit cart by the same name in Greenwich Village before expanding to a storefront on Sixth Avenue in 1972. That outpost was the first in New York City to offer premium foods with a butcher, fishmonger, cheese, pastries, and produce all in the very same place. The flagship location closed in 2003.

According to the website of Baldor Foods (the retailer’s wholesale division), acclaimed food critic James Beard was a regular customer of Balducci’s and even once said the vendor always sold “the best of the best, at the right price,” including snowy white silver dollar mushrooms for 39 cents per pound — a hot ticket item for the shop’s early customers.

Balducci, who was born in Brooklyn and raised in Italy before returning to the States, is credited with introducing broccoli rabe to California farmers and was one of the first direct importers of prosciutto di Parma, Eater reports. He is survived by his wife, two children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Present-day Balducci’s now has 11 stores in New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maryland, where the company is headquartered. Various locations have been featured on television and in films including the sitcom Will and Grace, rom-com Fatso, and Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. To see which other grocers are making waves across the nation, here is the best grocery store in every state.