Top Shelf

Specializing in wine, cheese and other gourmet food items, Marion Street Market (708/725-7200 or provides the community with hand crafted foods and beverages, emphasizing local and sustainable practices.

Fancy Food & Culinary Products: Tell us a little about Marion Street Market and the items you carry. Francesca Vitali: Our market carries many different products, including fine wine from small and, as often as possible, eco-conscious wineries; craft beer (we work exclusively with domestics, with a focus on local); and artisanal snacks and chocolates. We'll soon be offering a varied selection of barware and kitchen utensils.

FF: You have a bistro as well. Which of your market items are available on that menu?
While some of our cheeses are included on certain menu items and available cheese flights, any other product in retail can be added onto the customer's restaurant tab.

FF: What are some of your most prominent items on the bistro menu?
Our Cauliflower Melt has been highly acclaimed by critics and customers alike. One of our most recent dinner additions, our fried chicken, has become a smash-hit— and is one of my personal favorites this year.

FF: What items have been favored on the retail side?
Banshee Winery's Sonoma County Pinot Noir and their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon have been top-selling wines for us in the past, as well as its entry-level Rickhsaw Wines, which provide exceptoinal value for its high quality. In addition, Pipeworks Brewing has a massive fanbase that we're able to offer with fresh beer to on a weekly basis. Chocolat Uzma Sharif has been crafting custom chocolates for us for a number of years, and its Buddha Bleu Bonbon has become a staple in the market.

FF: Tell me about some of your personal favorites available.
Picking a favorite wine is like picking a favorite child for me, but I can say that Desperada Winery has held a special place in my heart (and on our shelves) for about a year now, providing us with beautiful, skillfully crafted and hard-to-find labels such as the Demure wines. The winemaker, Vailia Esh, has set out to make a name for herself as a stand-alone winery, as well as to bring notice and acclaim to the wines of Paso Robles, Calif. I can't help but respect her and her vision.

FF: Do you have any gifting options available?
While we always offer gift boxes and baskets to be built to the customer's specificaitons and tastes, this past holiday season we offered a holiday pre-order that included a set list of wines, cheeses, chocolates, and other goodies.

FF: What's your favorite thing about your line of work?
I'm all about education and helping people make informed food and beverage choices. It's very important to me to make sure I stay informed and in tune with the products I'm bringing in; where it came from, what's in it, how it pairs with what, etc. I'm particularly passionate about getting people my age excited about wine. I'm a voracious reader, and I try to absorb as much information as I can in order to educate and motivate twenty-somethings to try new things and not be afraid to navigate a wine shelf. The more informed you are, the more confident

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