It is 5:00 p.m. on a Tuesday in the North End. The weather is warmer than expected for Boston at the beginning of spring—around 60 degrees with little wind.
The streets are quiet, though plenty of people are lounging on the bench-swings along a stone walkway adjacent to the main street, Hanover St.
A small Italian grocery store called Salumeria Italiana—”Boston’s Best Italian Grocery Store,” as they display on a sign facing the main road—on Richmond St. (a crossroad of Hanover St.) is rather calm; there are six customers in the store at most, browsing the wide selection of pasta, bread, and their accompanying sauces and spreads.
Fresh meat—salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, and various sausages—sits in a glass case toward the back of the room. The display is enough to make customers salivate or perhaps want to make a homemade pizza. The cheeses are fresh; kitchen staff slice large blocks of hard cheeses (such as Parmesan) for customers directly in front of them.
Next to the checkout counter (between two glass cases; the one containing meat is to the left of the counter), there is another glass case with displays of vegetable assortments including a multicolor olive and sun-dried tomato plate tossed in olive oil—a great accompaniment to a meat and cheese platter.
Meanwhile, on Hanover St., a small gelato shop called Gigi Gelateria—whose gelato selection takes up nearly half the length of the store—is rather vacant as well. Jessica, an employee, says the day has been “unusually slow.”