Fante's Kitchen Wares Shop: "To Make a Better Life"
1006 South 9th Street
If you’re ever in need of an obscure kitchen utensil, such a grape peeler, or a device that makes an imprint of the Virgin Mary on your French toast, the place to go is clearly Fante’s. The pyramid of assorted Le Creuset pots, and the smell of fresh coffee beans and brewing espresso, are all reminders of the joy and dedication to old-world cooking that has fueled the market on 9th Street for generations.
Mariella Esposito, Fante’s current owner, has been working at the store since she was a teenager and a recent immigrant from Italy. She and her family found in Fante’s—and the market in general—a community of immigrants that understood their unique experience in a new country. The Fantes themselves, the original owners of the shop, and Italian immigrants, as well, treated Mariella and her siblings (who also worked at the store and continue to co-own it) like they were family. When they finally retired and sold the business, Mariella and her siblings decided to buy it and keep it running much like the original store.