The Italian-themed store offers kitchen supplies for sale, a cafe and cooking classes.
The aroma of freshly baked bread welcomes visitors into Quinci Emporium, the Short North shop owned by Deborah Quinci, Connie Klema and Kevin Hurst, where the historic building’s wood floors creak, exposed brick dots the interior and tall windows peer onto High Street. Launched in 2016 as a shop selling kitchen wares, gadgets and packaged foods, the endeavor has since evolved into a gourmand’s haven, offering café fare, espresso drinks and culinary expertise.
In the front and back sections of the slender building, you can find carefully curated, high-end yet functional cooking tools, tableware, wine and packaged foods—dried pasta, olive oil, cheese and cured meat—on tables, shelves and in a refrigerated case.Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.
A radiant commercial kitchen fills the center of the space with a counter that showcases soups, quiches, savory tarts, breads and pastries that reflect chef and co-owner Deborah Quinci’s Palermo, Italy, roots. Cappuccinos and lattes ($3.75) originate from an espresso machine nearby, while the smell of tomato sauce stewing on the kitchen’s cooktop wafts through the store.
The vegetable ribbon tart ($7 per slice) is a standout in the shop’s vibrant collection of artfully prepared and presented food. Precise, slender strands of eggplant, tomato, zucchini and onion are placed on a thick ricotta cheese base and housed in a buttery, cleanly-executed crust. Both delicious and eye-catching, a slice is a delight to the senses.
The meat sandwich ($8) features prosciutto, Manchego cheese and fig jam on freshly made artisan bread. The salty prosciutto mingles effortlessly with the jam’s sweet notes. On the day that I visited, the pasta al forno ($6 per slice) paired tall layers of baked noodles with a sautéed mushroom and breadcrumb crust. The dish’s buttery, salty edges married well with the house-made, slightly acidic tomato sauce that was served alongside. Warm and complex, the offering provided rustic comfort on a cold Ohio day.
Quinci Emporium’s baked goods are displayed in glass jars or on elegant stands. Cookies and biscotti are meticulously stacked in a visual feast. The almond cookie ($1.25) features a crunchy exterior that gives way to a soft, chewy interior bold in flavor. The brown butter cookie ($1.25) offers an opulent shortbread with deep notes of caramelized butter. A favorite is the lemon polenta cake ($4 per slice), which couples unique textural grit with a slight sweetness that serves as the perfect afternoon extravagance alongside a piping-hot macchiato ($2.75).
A Friday afternoon happy hour is held weekly from 3 to 5:30 p.m., featuring charcuterie and 2-ounce pours of some of the shop’s finest wines.