I'm the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch undiscovered consumer products. It's also the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. I write about design, cultural anthropology, and start-ups, mostly.

Real Deal Road Trip No. 1: Dave’s Fresh Pasta

At Grommet we get to give a name and face to businesses that would otherwise likely be depersonalized in a “normal” commerce experience.

As a companion to my day job, I am going to start sharing some of the more local “real deals” I find in my ordinary travels.  These are businesses or experiences that humanize life.  I’d love for others to share theirs and I will post them.  Just send me photos (and a little narrative) about real-world places, businesses, experiences that personalize your own daily travels.  Here is my first installment.

Dave’s Fresh Pasta–Somerville, Massachusetts

2009-11-07 14.18.05

Dave's Fresh Pasta, Somerville, MA

Dave’s Fresh Pasta is a crowded, cheerful warren of little food-filled rooms.  Beyond the homemade pasta, Dave’s sells a lovely cross section of cheeses, wines, dry goods, and produce, plus great deli creations.  You can craft a dinner on the spot or just happily order for immediate consumption.

I like watching customers enter.  As people cross Dave’s threshold, they magically transform from “blah” to delighted. Couples cuddle up, they smile, people breathe deeply. Their whole affect says, “I am in a good place. These Dave’s people know what they are doing. I can’t go wrong here with the [fresh ravioli, or cheese, or wine, or deli sandwich] I’m about to select.”

2009-11-07 14.16.56

2009-11-07 14.11.48

Getting my pumpkin and goat cheese ravioli boxed up. As one couple was repeatedly somewhat slow to respond to questions about their order, this employee rolled her eyes and said quietly, knowingly: "Lovebirds."

Sorry about blurry photos…getting use to my new Droid.

2009-11-07 14.14.29

Cornucopia of cheese. Charmed to note the value created by the helpful annotations that go with the curated selections. I like when a bookstore or video rental place does that too. "Staff picks" etc.

2009-11-07 14.15.38

Dave encourages people to donate CD's that the shop then sells for $1, donating the proceeds.

I’ve only been to Dave’s twice and I already trust the place.  Everything I’ve tried is worth the effort of getting there, and I want to support their emphasis on careful curating of quality.  You don’t need vast choices when it comes to wine, or cheese, or olive oil, or pasta.  You just need good ones.

P.S. I liked this short Globe essay by Christopher Muther, about faux town center malls.   It came out a few days after I wrote this post.   It’s called “He’s Authentically Disappointed.”  New lifestyle center is a mall of confusion – The Boston Globe

3 Responses to “Real Deal Road Trip No. 1: Dave’s Fresh Pasta”

  1. Nancy

    Hi, Jules! This is the Nancy you know in Lexington. I know Dave and his pasta from when I lived in nearby Arlington 20 or so years ago, when he ran Via Lago in East Arlington. Now Via Lago is owned and operated by Dave’s brother in Lexington, MA, and they carry Dave’s Fresh Pasta there now. I’m happy to know Dave has a store and I’ll visit SOON. His ravioli is the best I’ve ever had. Pasta is a staple food for me and I’ve eaten a lot of ravioli since watching my grandmother filled the squares on her dining room table. Dave’s has that handmade touch, and the taste is supreme.

    Reply
  2. julespieri

    Hi Nancy I know from Lexington. (I know two Nancys…but I am pretty sure which one is hanging on my blog a bit!) I don’t really know Dave but he was really helpful to my oldest son when he was a second grader and did a project on Italy and pasta. I doubt he would remember that event, but we never forgot.

    I did not realize that Via Lago is owned by his bro. My son the former second grader worked there for a summer, so I guess he paid Dave’s family back, indirectly, by being a good catering truck driver.

    Reply
  3. julespieri

    A foodie friend who lives in Somerville tells me these other pasta sources are well worth a visit, in the vicinity:

    Bella Ravioli, Main St., Medford–old world family run pasta making place
    • Bob’s Fine Foods, just up the street from Bella Ravioli, gentrified Italian deli similar to Dave’s
    • Capone’s in Union Square, Somerville, similar to Bob’s

    Feel free to report back here, any of y’all that get to these before I do!

    Reply

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