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Balducci's returns to Manhattan--as a restaurant

Balducci’s, the once-legendary, now long-gone Greenwich Village food market, has returned to the streets of New York in the form of a fast-casual restaurant.

Balducci’s Gourmet on the Go Café opened Wednesday in its birth town, which it exited in mid-2009. In the interim, New Yorkers could sample Balducci’s-branded sandwiches, salads and other grab-and-go fare from a market-style concession at JFK Airport.

If their travels took them to a few suburbs in Maryland, Virginia Connecticut or New York, they could get a taste of what the original Balducci’s was like, albeit from far newer stores. The outlets were opened and run by the Sutton Place Gourmet food markets chain, which had purchased and closed the 1920s–era prototype—to considerable scorn from some quarters.

The Gourmet on the Go format features the sort of foods that New Yorkers might find otherwise in a Panera Bread or an Au Bon Pain: Coffee, sandwiches and baked goods. But they’ll also find crepes.

"We have retained that passion for authentic food that was the inspiration behind our food markets and have combined that with the needs of the on-the-go consumer,” Balducci’s CEO Judy Spires said in the announcement.

The company, now owned by private-equity funds, said it plans to open additional Gourmet on the Go’s in New York. It also pledged to bring back Balducci’s-branded food markets.

The Balducci family opened its first market in 1916.

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