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New England Dining Reviews>>> Little White Market, Hopedale MA

The Little White Market is Big on Homemade Foods in Hopedale, Mass.
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The Little White Market, Hopedale, Mass. (photo by Eric)

The Little White Market in Hopedale, Mass., reminds me of everything I love about small, locally-owned and operated businesses.

What started as a stop along the way during a busy Christmas shopping day turned into a memorable dining experience in a town and location that barely shows up on the maps.

Driving into Hopedale -- a charming, beautifully laid-out small New England town with roots as a modified socialist Utopian village in the 1840s -- I knew of a few great low-profile places to eat here, but decided to dig deeper and hopefully find something even more hidden. In a modest small white house a few steps away from the back of the Hopedale Police Station, I discovered The Little White Market.  Walking through a side door and into a small waiting area with three counter seats and a long table saturated with catering boxes and related items, I felt like I had entered someone's private, neighborhood home.

One of the employees, as well as a local hanging out for some conversation and a bite to eat, greeted me as if I was a local. Food-made-from-scratch preparation was in full operation, cookies were being baked, and the frequent words, "We're up to our eyeballs in orders," to each customer calling in to order something suggested perhaps I stumbled upon one of those local hidden gems.

All of a sudden a flurry of people came in -- a nice old lady, a kind elderly man, a middle-aged woman from Hopedale High School, and some young construction-type workers. Everyone knew each other, and the conversations took on a close-knit, family-like vibe. Finding out that The Little White Market was more of a catering, take-out place than a restaurant, I asked if it was OK to dine-in. The employee said, while trying to do several things at once, "Of course it is, what can I make for you?"

Looking over the menu of soups, salads, paninis, sandwiches and desserts, I decided on a turkey sandwich with homemade stuffing and cranberry spread on a bulkie roll. It was amazing, perhaps the best and most substantial turkey sandwich I've had on my 50 years on earth!

While enjoying my sandwich, I was in awe of what mouthwatering foods the steady flow of customers were taking out, as well as what I saw around the store and on the menu: chicken and broccoli aglio, stuffed eggplant, vegetable alfredo, chicken marsala, honey glazed carrots, as well as gingerbread men cookies, cheeses, chocolates, breads, beers, and wines.

I felt right at home here -- such a nice alternative to the fast-paced, over-hyped, contrived chains along the highways and byways of New England. Like all places where you feel a connection, it was tough to leave. I thanked the owner and then, without thinking twice, said to everyone in the place, "Merry Christmas!" That's something I normally wouldn't do --addressing a group of people I don't know.  Each and every person in The Little White Market replied in virtual unison, "Merry Christmas!" back to me. In a world that seems less friendly each day, this was really a wonderful moment that I appreciated so much.

I left The Little White Market and Hopedale with this unintended Christmas gift of meeting some very nice people while enjoying a lunch that will, no doubt, have me returning to this unassuming, friendly little small business in a town I have always loved. Just goes to show that digging deep into the road less taken brings some mighty rewards when traveling New England!

The Little White Market is located at 5 Depot St. in downtown Hopedale, MA. Tel. (508) 473-1443
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