Words by Shannon Mullen / Illustration by Jennifer Taillon
Culinary celebrity and New England native Odessa Piper is back in our midst after coming of age as a chef in the Midwest, where she opened the revolutionary restaurant L’Etoile in Madison, Wisconsin in 1976. Piper was ahead of her time in her fervent commitment to buying local and “cooking with the seasons,” which made her restaurant an institution and put her on the map with such pioneer chefs as Alice Waters. Piper sold L’Etoile to her chef de cuisine and relocated to Roslindale in 2010. As an ardent locavore (and arguably a founder of the movement) she’s already deeply devoted to her new neighborhood and its up-and-coming culinary scene. “Local is a commitment,” she explains. “Its power is in the connection that we make, that we’re willing to maintain with our food. It’s an intentional drawing of boundaries and a distance that’s best gauged by the heart.” In Roslindale, Piper adds, local also means independent, including small businesses she can always count on to stock fresh ingredients. “I have a monogamous relationship with this village so I go here first to try to find what I need.”
(1) Allandale Farm 259 Allandale Road, Brookline | 617.524.1531 | allandalefarm.com Technically in Brookline, but feeds Roslindale through its CSA and the local farmers market (see separate listing below).
(2) Birch Street House and Garden 760 South Street | 617.323.3269 | birchsthouseandgarden.com Stocks cheerful table linens, candles, and seasonal table ornaments.
(3) Boston Cheese Cellar 18 Birch Street | 617.325.2500 | bostoncheesecellar.com A top-shelf selection, including a good list of local/regional cheeses. This cheery shop also sells fine olive oils, vinegars, condiments, local honey, and excellent Nutting Farm Maple syrup.
(4) Diane’s Bakery 9 Poplar Street | 617.323.1877 Great “snowflake buns” to go with hamburgers, plus original pastries, muffins, and the "Roslindale cream cupcake."
(5) Droubi Bros. & Bob’s Pita Bakery 748 South Street | 617.325.1585 Stocks perishable produce like fresh watercress year-round as well as unusual Middle Eastern seasonal items like hard green plums.
(6) El Chavo 4254 Washington Street | 617.323.2442 | elchavomx.com Mexican specialties, including lime mayonnaise. Try it straight up with the shop’s Adobo chilies or on grill-roasted corn on the cob. This ethnic market also stocks authentic Central American bread from Melo’s Bakery in Everett.
(7) Fornax Bread Company 27 Corinth Street | 617.325.8852 | fornaxbread.com Crusty loaves of bread made fresh daily, plus a range of other baked goods and excellent sandwiches.
(8) Joanne Rossman 6 Birch Street | 617.323.4301 | joannerossman.com A destination for unique gifts. The owner (and namesake) curates a revolving selection of gorgeous cookbooks, along with kitchen tools, antique culinary accouterments, and handcrafted aprons.
(9) Quality Meat Market 13 Corinth Street | 617.469.5632 Sells halal-butchered meats from Adams Farm in Athol, including goat, lamb, and beef, fresh and cut to order.
(10) Redd’s n’ Rozzie 4257 Washington Street | 617.325.1000 | reddsinrozzie.com Works with local farms, brewers, fishermen, and bakers to source ingredients that are seasonal and responsibly raised. Try the deep fried avocado and oysters in season.
(11) Roslindale Village Main Street Farmers Market roslindale.net/farmersmarket/ Saturdays from 9am to 1:30pm | Jun. 1 – Nov. 23 | Adams Park Dozens of vendors each week selling a range of fresh produce, fruit, meat, honey, cheese, preserves, local baked goods, and handcrafted items.
(12) Roslindale Fish Market 38 Poplar Street | 617.327.9487 Buys locally at the Boston docks, including squid or scallops on most days. They also sell fresh dandelion greens, a variety of chicories, feta cheese in three styles, and several kinds of fresh phyllo.
(13) Select Café 2 Belgrade Avenue | 617.323.3323 Gelato, ice cream, and freshly pulled, piping hot espresso drinks in generous portions perfect for sipping amid the locals in the large café space.
(14) Solera Wine Shop 16 Birch Street | 617.469.4005 | solerashrinetowine.com Very worldly for a small village, and often stocks varietals from Massachusetts wineries.
(15) Tony’s Market 4253 Washington Street | 617.323.7313 | tonysmarketroslindale.com In its 50th year, Tony’s sells organic chicken, fresh ground beef, and sausage made in house, hot or sweet.
(16) Vouros Pastry Shop 4252 Washington Street | 617.323.5068 An extensive line of Greek cookies. Try the orange honey nut.
Shannon Mullen is a film producer and freelance public radio reporter whose work airs regularly on Marketplace, All Things Considered, and other national programs. Her culinary experience includes stints as chef aboard a 1929 wooden motoryacht based in Newport, RI, and as garde manger in the kitchen of a French bistro in Portsmouth, NH.