"In 1961, Pastor Medina was forced out of his supermarket business and ultimately out of his home country - Cuba - by Fidel Castro.
"Coming to the United States with his wife, two daughters and literally just the clothes on their back; Pastor worked many jobs and saved for his dream of one day owning a supermarket again.
"In 1974, Pastor rented a small corner of a building on Washington Street in Boston’s Dudley Square selling just plantains – earning the store the name that most of its Spanish clientele still call it today: “El Platanero” (The Banana Man). Pastor’s brother Andres soon joined the company and together, over the next 14 years, their corner store had expanded to a small grocery store with over two dozen employees.
"In 1988, Pastor sold the store to his son-in-law, Ronn Garry Sr. who coined the name “Tropical Foods”. Ronn Sr. continued Pastor’s growth and further expanded the store --turning Tropical Foods in to a full-service supermarket.
"In 2006, brothers Ronn and Randy Garry bought Tropical Foods from Ronn Sr.
"In early 2015, Tropical Foods opened a brand new 27,000 sf state-of-the-art store just behind the old one. In addition to all the same great items that were carried in the old store, the new location now has a service deli department, a service fish department, and a bakery. Modern, spacious & fresh… Tropical Foods really is the best of all worlds!!!"
The old store has been knocked down but was much smaller.
Image from boston.curbed.com.
Let's head into the store! (And unfortunately, the photo quality only goes down from here. Sorry!)
This store is amazingly spacious for being only 27,000 square feet. It's very modern and has an upscale feel, even though it's not an upscale store. It is a great example of a larger urban ethnic model that we really don't have here in NJ/NY. The closest we really come is Food Bazaar. I'd love to see more stores like this around here!
Tropical Foods (El Platanero)450 Melnea Cass Blvd, Roxbury, MA 02119
Open Mon-Sat 7:30AM-9PM, Sun 8AM-8PM
My Rating: ★★★★☆