Frank and Giovanni's Market

La Marqueta 2.jpg

La Marqueta

By Jessica Pasko

OK, so there's this market in Albany -- it has an Italian name and sells Caribbean goods to mostly Spanish speaking shoppers.

The place is called Frank and Giovanni's Market, but it may be better known as La Marqueta. And it's stocked with all kinds of exotic and interesting foods from tubers to plantains to pigs' feet.

Two aisles at Frank and Giovanni's are almost entirely dedicated to what seems likely to be the complete line of Goya products, including numerous types of hot sauces and cuttlefish.

Goya at La Marqueta 1.jpg

Goya at La Marqueta 2.jpg

You'll find everything you need to make authentic enchiladas or taquitos -- right down to the ground corn masa harina you need for the tortillas. Mexican chocolate is also available, along with bags of teas, saltfish, and a rather impressive selection of spices and marinades.

Seriously, this might be the closest to an authentic bodega that we have in Albany. I can't think of anywhere else in the area where I can pick up a Jarritos Mexican tamarind-flavored soda, a pack of smokes (in theory, of course, considering I'm a non-smoker) and a bag of onions -- and transfer money via Western Union.

La Marqueta 4.jpg

It's also a great source for harder to find Hispanic and Jamaican products like fresh or dried chorizo, cotija cheese, packages of chicken feet and real Mexican crema, which puts our sour cream to shame. I don't think I've ever seen fresh calabash or frozen plantains anywhere else either.

There's always a steam table full of hot, prepared foods to go too, like jerk chicken, arroz con pollo and some sort of fish stew I have yet to properly identify.

What I also love is the variety of accents you'll hear when you go in -- it's like a little piece of Latin America right in downtown Albany.

Find It

Frank & Giovanni's Market
80 Morton Ave.
Albany , NY 12202

462-1405

Comments

Again, more useful information from AOA. And as an adopted Latina, I really appreciate you highlighting this business. I'm psyched!

I've driven by this place millions of times - I had no idea of what was inside. I always figured it was just another corner store.

Thanks Jess - I'm excited for chorizo!

Only the bravest and handsomest of gents will venture to eat a pig's foot, or so I've heard.

Awesome! I have been looking all over for cured chorizo and this place must have it.

this place rules! they also have delicious tortillas and fresh epazote. yum!

I'm not going to patronize a store with Paul Tonko signs in its window. Sorry, I'll take my business elsewhere.

@Sandor - it's true. And I've got the photos to prove it. I promise I'll upload that eventually.

You can get fresh chorizo at Roma's in Latham. I think it's from Oscar's smokehouse. Most of their meat is hormone/antibiotic-free as well.

Hey Luke, I'm sure they'll miss you.

The Honest Weight nows sells a locally made chorizo (in keeping with the local meat policy).

I've been to Frank & Giovanni's a couple of times and it's really a great place to explore a wide variety of foods. A very welcoming, friendly place.

As for Jarritos soda, I don't get why people think it's so great. Yes it still uses cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, but the couple of flavors I tried were made with artificial flavors and colors and tasted artificial. There are quite a few natural sodas out there that taste better. Just because something is ethnic or international doesn't mean it's good.

@Chrisck
I have yet to find another tamarind flavored soda other than Jarritos or the Goya version. Same goes for guayaba. These were also what I drank when I was in Mexico, so perhaps there's something to be said for soft drink nostalgia.

We went to La Marqueta today after reading about it in AOA, and what a gem it is! I've lived in Albany for decades, but didn't realize that there was a Hispanic market in town until you wrote this item. Thanks for turning us on to a unique local business.

I just heard an add for it in the radio, I would love to go here one day. Thanks for the post!

WOW!!! I just found a link to La Marqueta on Facebook, and can't wait to check it out. I've been in the Capital region for three years now, and have to go to Ossining, NY to purchase Latin products other than plantains and Goya canned goods. I can't wait to try their chorizo and hope they have fresh culantro so I can cook my traditional Puerto Rican recipes, as the canned and frozen stuff just doesn't cut it!!!

love frank and giovannis... great food and very polite and respectful staff...

I'm new to the Albany area, is this market still open? I google map the address but had no luck find it. I've been here three months and I'm ready for some Latin products.

@Fernando: The name has changed to La Grande Meat Market, same stuff, same location, same people.

@Fernando -- a couple of years after this original AOA post the owner was charged with grand larceny for running a food stamp scam. He was sentenced to a jail term and I have no idea if that put an end to his business. It's a sad ending if it did as people seemed to be enthusiastic about his store. Running a small business is hard (most fail), but it's got to stay legit.

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Food-stamp-scam-linked-to-4-stores-1338084.php

http://www.albanycountyda.com/Media/News/12-12-20/Convenience_Store_Owner_Sentenced_In_Food_Stamp_Scam.aspx

The store is still there, the food is the same, everything is the same except the name and the ownership structure. Even Laterio still works there.

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