A Life of Cheese: Say Formaggio Kitchen

It's Saturday afternoon at Formaggio Kitchen, and David Welch has set up his grill on the sidewalk in front of the West Cambridge gourmet grocery store. The shop's produce buyer chats with customers, greeting each one by name as he serves up rack after rack of his barbecued pork ribs marinated in special sauce.

"That smells delicious!" a passersby tells him--and indeed, the fragrant smoke seems to be beckoning customers from all directions.

The sidewalk in front of the little store takes on the feel of a block party, as lines of customers waiting for their ribs catch up on each other's lives. While children munch on Halloween-themed cookies from the bakery inside, Welch plays party host, introducing those who don't yet know each other.


The gregarious atmosphere has quieted down by Monday morning, though the store is still catering to the customers who trickle in and out.

Owner Ihsan Gurdal is frantically juggling phone calls while maintaining his hearty congeniality.

A truck driver calls from the Mass. Pike, asking for directions to the store. He's on his way to drop off 300 cases of cheese.

Then a photographer from Bon Appetit calls from Logan Airport, saying he'll be there soon to photograph the store for the January issue.

A group of women visiting from Montral arrive for a tour. The store is a stop on their culinary guild's tour of the area.

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