Joined :5/14/2010 | Video Recipes: 2 | Follow Chef
Greenvale, NY United States

Without question, Grace is the first lady of specialty food retailing. She began her career as soon as she took her first steps, when her parents, Louis and Maria Balducci, opened the legendary Balducci’s food market in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. While at their side, she learned everything there was to know about the produce trade. At age 17, Grace met Joseph Doria in 1955 when he came from Italy to work for Mr. Balducci. Over cash registers and boxes of produce, they fell in love, then married in 1957. Grace and Joe began a large family immediately, and Grace contemplated being at stay-at-home mom in Queens. However she couldn’t possibly stay away from the business she was born and raised into, and Grace returned to Balducci’s. Louis and Maria Balducci brought Grace along every step of the way, honing her instincts and sharpening her skills as they worked side by side for over 40 years. Grace was instrumental in developing the category of the “Prepared Foods” or “Tavola.” Grace and her mother, Maria, incorporated “off-stand” produce (not fit for sale because of cracks or bruising) into family recipes using a wide selection of fine products located throughout Balducci’s. These dishes first appeared at the deli counter, but the demand soon exceeded supply, and prepared foods became its own department. In 1985, Grace and her husband Joe, decided to venture out beyond Balducci’s and begin their own specialty store titled Grace’s Marketplace located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Grace and Joe, along with their six children, began their own legacy and quickly became a neighborhood treasure and authority in fine gourmet retailing. There is also a Grace’s Wholesale division and corporate office located further uptown, where produce is sold to local NYC restaurants. In 1997, Grace decided to open her own restaurant, Grace’s Trattoria, adjacent to the Manhattan store, preparing classic Southern Italian fare from the freshest ingredients of the marketplace. In the fall of 2008, Grace and her six children brought Grace’s Marketplace to the Long Island community. Offering the same service and quality her customers have come to know and love, Grace now operates a business where her and her family reside. Today, she remains active in her namesake operation, conducting monthly cooking classes. Although she has passed down the majority of responsibility to her children, Grace continues to be a true specialty food retailing expert, and helped preserve her family’s legacy through talent and hard work all her own.