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Fresh Sheet: New location, same old feel at Cassano’s

Wed., Feb. 25, 2009

After almost nine decades on East Sprague Avenue, Cassano’s Italian grocery is moving.

The store will move into Piccolo’s Grocery at the corner of Mission and Napa. The new Cassano’s will have the same “old-world market feel,” says owner Carl Naccarato, but three times the space and 70 parking places. They’re adding to the market’s offerings, including:

•Fresh produce, dairy and meats

•More imported meats, cheeses, pastas, herbs and seasonings

•A large wine inventory

•Seating near the deli counter

•A catering service owned by Naccarato and Dave Finney, called David deCarlo Catering.

•The new Mission Bistro restaurant in a private dining room, serving fresh pasta and hand-tossed pizzas.

Naccarato says he developed a rapport with Piccolo’s owner Jack Green over the years as they referred customers between the Italian markets. During conversations, the men discovered that Naccarato wanted a larger location while Green was ready to step back from the market he bought from his father-in-law, Vince Piccolo.

Green will stay on at the new Cassano’s. “It’s going to be the best of both worlds because what Jack has built there will endure and we’ll just fortify it with Cassano’s,” Naccarato says.

He expects it to take about two weeks to move into the new store, starting Sunday. During that time, both businesses will be open. Cassano’s phone number remains the same, (509) 747-3888. The Web site is

Stop in for a Taste

The new Taste Cafe and Gourmet to Go is open at the corner of Second and Howard in downtown Spokane. Mother and daughter team Jane and Hannah Heber moved to Spokane from Southern California last year with plans for the business.

Hannah Heber worked at Williams-Sonoma’s corporate offices but found it stressful. Inspired by the chefs she met, she decided on a career switch, attending the Inland Northwest Culinary Academy at Spokane Community College. She is the Taste pastry chef.

The women settled on Spokane, they said, because they wanted to open the cafe someplace that wasn’t already crowded with boutique eateries. “We hope that we’re filling a niche,” Jane Heber says.

Taste chefs focus on made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch and deli items. Signature offerings include English crumpets ($1.50), sausage in puff pastry ($2), bobotie (a South African dish made with ground beef, curry, apples and served with mango chutney for $10.50), chocolate chip cookies and Hannah Heber’s carrot cake with orange ginger cream cheese frosting.

Doma coffee is served and beer and wine is available. Taste is open weekdays 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (509) 468-2929 or find more information online at

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