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If you want the world’s best gourmet food, apparently you can skip right over New York and London and go right to...Dayton, Ohio.

That’s the verdict from Luxist, a luxury goods and lifestyle website operated by AOL, which recently ran a contest asking readers to choose the world’s best gourmet grocer from the following contenders: Harrod’s in London, Zabar’s and Dean & Deluca, both in New York City, Whole Foods, and Dorothy Lane Markets, the three-store, family owned company based in Dayton.

And Dorothy Lane won.

In announcing the Readers’ Choice Award for Best Gourmet Grocer, Luxist wrote about company CEO Norman Mayne: “Mayne loved good food, and wanted his customers to enjoy the same. He believed the company should be unpretentious and have an inclusive atmosphere in which its customers would be welcome. Today Dorothy Lane Market is a company of well-known gourmet supermarkets in the Dayton area that are recognized for great food and service ... Dorothy Lane partners with food artisans and others passionate about food. This is evident when browsing its aisles and viewing the impressive selection of gourmet food products from around the world that stock its shelves.

“They offer an extensive selection of cheese, wine, and chocolate. Its oil selection is impressive, and includes walnut oil from Provence, macadamia oil, and olive oils from all over the world. They feature hard to find premium products in season. In seafood for example, they carry Copper River King Salmon and fresh Alaskan King Red Crab from family co-ops. Produce features golden Aurora apples, long stem artichokes, and jumbo size honeydew melons. The meat department's products are entirely natural, lifetime free of added hormones and antibiotics. Their meats include well marbled pork, free range chicken, and DLM Natural Beef, which almost always grades out as USDA prime.”
KC's View:
Norman Mayne’s response to this news was typically modest: “Just proves that luck is more important than brains,” he told me.

That modesty masks both hard work and passion. Dorothy Lane Market is a wonderful store, the kind of store that foodies love to shop in.

My only concern about the company winning this award is that it could mask the fact that the stores are highly accessible - they don’t have the kind of rarefied air that one might expect the “best gourmet grocer” to have.

Congrats to the Mayne family and the extended Dorothy Lane Market family. Good work.