When Emily Chandler opened Piazza Italian Market in Easton 11 years ago, she hoped that it would be a place in the community that would bring people together, hence the name. In her words, she describes her experience:
We have many different clients who value different things and come from different places and that is what makes Piazza great. I believe we can unite through food and there is no place I would rather be than in this diverse community of Talbot County. The pandemic has strengthened my belief that we can gather around the ancient human culture of delicious cooking.
Although it was stressful at times, I am proud to say that Piazza remained open to during the worst duration of the pandemic. We adapted our business model to operate exclusively via phone and online for a few weeks making it difficult to feel like we were doing a good job of caring for our customers and giving them the hospitality they are accustomed to receiving. Although it felt like operating blindly at times, I am proud of my staff for continuing our mission to serve the community and thankful to our customers who were very patient as we adjusted.
We pivoted our wine events to a take-home version, made many home deliveries, learned how to do so contactless, delivered many meals to the hospital, to Hospice and catered (carry out) many of the most recent holiday meals that were celebrated in isolation, including Passover, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, graduations and Father’s Day. I am honored that we participated in these micro celebrations but most of all, I am thankful that we did so in good health.
On the morning of Saturday, June 6, I closed Piazza for two hours to attend the Black Lives Matter rally in Easton. I am a white person and I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to live everyday as a person of color. As the owner of a business operated by a racially diverse staff, I feel that Piazza’s participation was an opportunity to bring people together and offer support to our community in the advocacy for racial justice. So often people in the service industry make sacrifices to work during holidays, weekends and community events. I wanted to make sure my staff could participate in this exciting moment.
I love learning about the world through a culinary lens and, most importantly, sharing the tastes from far away places. Through the history of cooking I see that trade and overlapping of cultures breeds new discoveries. Sesame seeds, which originated from Africa over 3,000 years ago, are found on the crusts of so many Italian breads, in the tahini paste of Middle Eastern hummus, and are an essential ingredient of a seasoning blend in Japan – the list of stories like these goes on. This is the mission of Piazza and I look forward to continuing to serve food in this amazing community.
Piazza Italian Market is located at 218 North Washington Street in Easton. It is open daily with indoor and outdoor dining options. For more information, visit piazzaitalianmarket.com or call 410-820-8281.