What is it these days about upscale Boston grocery stores and their supposedly ungrateful patrons? Not long ago, we reported on Don Otto’s pouty farewell to South End non-customers. Now, fancy-pants De Luca’s, the century-old market where Ted Kennedy once lined his cupboard, is throwing a fit over opposition to its proposed expansion, reports the Globe.
Owner Virgil Aiello, who fancies himself a beloved neighborhood grocer, wants to expand his market (which was gutted by a July fire) into a ground-floor studio apartment and build on top of it. Opponents think it will set a shaky aesthetic precedent, but the Globe also hints that the neighborhood would be a bit more, ahem, forthcoming if people actually liked Aiello, who’s been cited for reckless Dumpster placement, permit violations, and other civic infractions. Local officials also suspect he’s using the fire as a reason to expand however he sees fit.
According to the Globe, residents also find fault with the store’s quality in relation to its high prices, though Aiello fires back that “they just don’t have the background that a European would have” when sussing his gourmet goods. Quel dommage.
Interestingly, many residents refused to go on the record when dissing the feisty Aiello.