Replacement(s) for Russo's in Watertown, MA?
August 16, 2021 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Russo's, a beloved market in Watertown, MA, will close this fall. I'm already mourning this loss, and am trying to figure out where to buy the many items that make this store so special. Is there another store in the area (close to Somerville would be ideal) that has DePasquale's Sausages, Mozzarella House cheeses, fresh pasta, olives, Rao's coffee, Colavita pasta, rotisserie chicken, and oh yeah - good and/or local produce? At a reasonable price? Thanks for any ideas on how to keep my favorite grocery run from becoming a multi-stop parade of sadness.
posted by poodelina to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, I don't think you're going to find any one store that's a replacement for Russo's.

Dave's Fresh Pasta has most of what you want, minus the chicken and produce. Formaggio Kitchen also has the gourmet items you might be looking for.

Maybe you can replace multiple shop trips with pickup/delivery? Neighborhood Produce is in Ball Square and has good prices on fresh fruits and veg (not local, I don't think); they have an online ordering system and you can pick up. Brookford Farm is in NH but service the city through the Saturday farmers market in Union and also via home delivery (order by Sunday for Tuesday drop-off). They have a variety of local produce, meats, and other products (all at farmers market prices, if you know what I mean).
posted by backseatpilot at 7:39 AM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I was gutted to read the story in the Globe this morning. We go to Wilson Farms in Lexington, but it's not a one-for-one replacement for all of those things.
posted by briank at 7:50 AM on August 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

It's a bit of a hike from Somerville, but when I lived in the area I did a lot of shopping at Volante Farms in Needham. They have great prepared food as well as farm produce.
posted by toastedcheese at 8:34 AM on August 16, 2021

Sorry this is not a one-stop shop suggestion, but you could hit up Pemberton Farms in Arlington for local gourmet goodies, then Foodland across the street for good prices on produce, staples, (and bonus awesome Indian food selection.) Foodland is pretty small so it wouldn't be an exhausting haul through two big stores!
posted by prewar lemonade at 8:36 AM on August 16, 2021

(And when I say across the street, I mean literally they are across from each other on Mass. Ave.)
posted by prewar lemonade at 8:38 AM on August 16, 2021

I can strongly suggest Capone Foods in north Cambridge, which is just up the street from Pemberton's to grab local produce.
posted by Dashy at 9:05 AM on August 16, 2021

Capone’s no longer has the North Cambridge location, but their original location in Union Square, Somerville is still there (and is great!).
posted by sriracha at 9:27 AM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Another vote here for the Pemberton/Foodland combo - they’re so close it’s very easy to do both in a single stop, and they balance each other well (Pemberton has amazing meats and cheeses and great veggies, but is pricey). In Cambridge, though, not Arlington (and easily walkable from Davis Sq).
posted by amelioration at 10:14 AM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I saw the news yesterday. Stunning. May Tony Russo have a good retirement, but damn I wish someone else would take over and keep Russo's intact (and add calcium-enhanced OJ to the refrigerator section and add any seafood at all, that's what would've made it a possible one-stop shop for me).

A one-stop shop is going to be difficult, unfortunately; Russo's is one of the larger local options. Possibilities that spring to my mind, from regional chain on down to local institutions:

- Wegmans is most likely to cover you on the largest number of your broader criteria, minus guarantees for specific brand names (though I have seen Mozzarella House there before). Of every place I can think of (that isn't one of the bigger chains), they're most likely to have your rotisserie chicken. It's my favorite of the chain supermarkets, wide variety of good produce and an excellent assortment of more mainstream specialty items. Medford is going to be your closest branch.
- Wilson Farms in Lexington is the other place I can think of that will have your rotisserie chicken and a good assortment of the other things you ask for, again modulo specific brand names, though I've seen Colavita there before.
- Dave's Fresh Pasta in Davis Square will have you covered on the good pasta front, obviously, along with olives, good cheese, and some decent fancy deli meat options, though not your rotisserie chicken. Produce is passable but I would pair it with a quick jaunt across Davis to the farmers' market on Wednesdays. Maybe adding McKinnon's would get you the rotisserie chicken?
- Formaggio Kitchen in Huron Village just moved down the street into larger digs closer to Fresh Pond. I haven't gotten a chance to check the new location out, but they will absolutely have you covered on fresh pasta, good charcuterie, olives, excellent seasonal produce, good coffee beans. It's not going to be anywhere near as cheap as Russo's, though, and I'm still not sure where you'd get a rotisserie chicken in this scenario.
- prewar lemonade's suggestion of combining Pemberton Farms and Foodland is a decent one, though note they're actually in Cambridge, about a half mile north of Porter and a half mile southwest of Davis. Pemberton by itself honestly probably has most of what you've listed you're looking for - good produce, decent assortment of your other items (though, again, not guaranteeing specific brands). I don't think I've ever gotten a rotisserie chicken from them; doesn't mean they don't have them but I don't remember seeing them off the top of my head. Call and ask? Not as cheap as Russo's but cheaper than Formaggio. Foodland is primarily an Indian+Pakistani grocery store. Pemberton's produce is closer to Russo's in terms of quality than Foodland's is (both are good, and Foodland will have some of the Asian produce options Russo's has that Pemberton won't, though not all).
- Capone Foods was a great place to get pasta and pre-made Italian dinners to reheat when I lived in North Cambridge in the early 2010s (and was only a couple of blocks north of Pemberton), but they closed that extension in 2015 and now only have the Union Square location. You might be able to pair that with the Union Square farmers' market on Saturday mornings for produce, though I think the other options mentioned are all stronger matches for you than this combo.

Honestly, I would contact Mozzarella House and DePasquale's and Rao's Coffee and ask them where they sell their products in greater Camberville; they're unfortunately not particularly forthcoming on their websites, but they're small enough you're likely to get a response. (Colavita is a global brand, but I know I haven't seen them at, say, Stop and Shop or Shaw's, though I have bought their angel hair nests at Wilson Farms; they do offer shipping from their online store, so that might fill one specific hole.)
posted by Pandora Kouti at 10:38 AM on August 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

Like everyone has said, there sadly won't be one replacement. My mom goes to DePasquale's Market on Watertown St in Newton to get their sausages, it's not terribly far from Russo's. While you're there, Antoine's is a great bakery with a mix of French and Italian baked goods--on the same street.

Like others have said, I'd check out Wilson Farms, it'll help, but it won't have everything Russo's had. It's also pricier. Dave's Fresh Pasta in Somerville is great.

I've been going to Russo's my whole life and I'm pretty stunned that they're closing.
posted by jdl at 8:08 PM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

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