Best Takeout Counter (Gourmet Division) - 2010
Mark Sanfilippo is quite the specimen, but that wasn't the only reason it was always hard to pass his stand at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market. It was also the taste of his coppa romana, the aroma of his guanciale and the snow-white loveliness of his pancetta that not only compelled you to fling money at him on the spot, but then had you pining until the weekly market reopened and you could see him again. Now that Sanfilippo's cured-meat business, Salume Beddu, has grown large enough to merit some south-city brick and mortar, the sausage is there for the taking Wednesday through Saturday. (He's busy the rest of the week, curing and cooking.) What's more, you can carry out other fixings for a rustic Italian feast, including wine crackers and relishes, plus any number of porky specials and Sanfilippo's signature sauces. The caponata is a refined rendition, thanks to the addition of golden raisins; the mostarda, which is more of a chutney, adds matchless zing to a cheese plate. Sanfilippo or his partner, Ben Poremba, will help pair provisions if you like, and they'll give the impression that they're happy to see you more than once a week.