Tony's Market - In the News
From the Boston Sunday Globe
Plenty of bread, for a change
By Melanie Lown, Globe Correspondent
April 21, 2002
Tony DeBenedictis, who opened Tony’s Meat Market in 1969, likes the changes in Roslindale.
Regular customers at the Fornax Break Company sip their coffee, unfazed by chilly winds and torrents of rain pouring on Roslindale Square. Chris and Kimberly Fallon opened Fornax five years ago, partly because Rozzie then was one of the few Boston neighborhood s where they could afford to do so and live nearby.
Now, with an influx of professionals and new businesses – including an independent bookstore opening May 4 – moving into once-vacant storefronts, Fornax represents Rozzie’s more hip, cosmopolitan edge.
“People said we were crazy to open up in Rozzie, but we knew the product was going to be different. We thought we would be good for the community and the business district,” said Chris Fallon. He estimates that 80 percent of his customers come from the neighborhood, but he is seeing more regulars from Newton and Milton.
These people “are willing to spend money on a good product,” such as the supremely popular sourdough boule. Initially, older Greek and Italian residents patronized Fornax. But now, Chris says, his clientele includes Latinos, African-Americans, and Eastern Europeans, reflecting big shifts in the neighborhood’s population from 1990 to 2000. According to the US Census, the number of Hispanic residents grew from 11 to 20 percent between 1990 and 2000, and African-Americans from 8 to 16 percent.
Tony DeBenedictis has witnessed these demographic and economic transformations from Tony’s Meat Market, which he opened in 1969. Unlike Fornax, 75 percent of Tony’s customers come from outside Roslindale, drawn by his veal, his homemade sausages, his imported Italian cold cuts – and by the service.
DeBenedictis believes the recent changes in Roslindale’s population are advantageous, as do the owners of the Greek pastry store Vouros. “When you come from a different background, it’s what you want to see,” said Maria Tzigizis, who runs the store with her husband, Yannis.
Although 75 percent of her customers are local, people will drive in during late afternoons and on weekends from far outside the neighborhood, some for “milfei,” a Greek pastry similar to a Napoleon. While the clientele was predominantly Greek years ago, the business has prospered with the more diverse population.
“The neighborhood has changed a lot and people are now willing to try new things and are more open-minded,” she said. “People used to walk out if they didn’t see anything familiar. Now they stay and ask questions.”