“I grew up in the Balducci’s and Grace’s Marketplace food family,” says Daniel Emilio Soares, whose relatives own the upscale New York City grocery chains, “and I have an emotional dependence on food to show for it.”
Soares’s food roots run deep. A fourth-generation Balducci, he carries a family legacy of grocers and mongers hailing back to 1916, when his great-grandfather Louis Balducci immigrated to the U.S. from the small town of Corato, in Puglia. Initially selling ice out of a truck in Great Neck, Long Island, Balducci graduated to peddling produce from a rented pushcart in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in 1918. A few decades later, in 1948, along with his daughter Grace Balducci Doria and her husband, Joe Doria, he opened a 24-7 grocery store in Greenwich Village, which sourced out-of-season produce and carefully selected delicacies. The Balducci chain grew from there, until the family sold it, in 1998. Now they own and operate Grace’s Marketplace on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and in Old Brookville, Long Island.