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A Sneak Peek at Downtown’s New Market St. Grocery

The store will stock local and imported produce, meats and gourmet items. Plus, it’s a coffee bar, wine bar and cocktail bar!




Photo by Eileen French
 

More than 12,000 people live downtown, and during the daily migration into the business district’s office buildings, 110,000-plus people temporarily are added to the population. In the last few years, the downtown restaurant boom has kept pace with the resident growth. However, there has been a growing demand and campaign to open a neighborhood grocery store.

Next week, on April 22, that finally is happening with the launch of the much-anticipated Market St. Grocery.

Developer Ralph Falbo had been looking to open a grocery in the area since 2007; that project finally got off the ground two years ago with the help of David Priselac and Ernie and Julian Vallozzi.
 


PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STORE'S FACEBOOK PAGE
 


The result is an efficiently, comfortably and deliciously packed 2,400-square-foot space of well-curated items. Goods range from pantry basics to specialty items that surely will make the grocery a destination not only for residents but also for those who are looking for hard-to-find gourmet products.

Entering the grocery store, shoppers and diners will see a full-service coffee bar serving Philadelphia’s celebrated La Colombe Coffee and Portland’s Stumptown Coffee. Patrons may enjoy their coffee with French pastries from Gaby et Jules; downtowners finally can get a hold of the celebrated macarons (previously sold only in Squirrel Hill)! By night, the coffee bar transforms into a craft-beer and cocktail bar.

To the right of the store is the produce and dairy area. Sourced locally when possible — especially during the growing season — Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance and other local farms will supply produce. Market St. Grocery also is offering some specialty produce items from the celebrated Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio. This is fantastic news for home cooks because we only typically find their produce in high-end restaurants.

The other wall of the market will feature more dry grocery goods, such as locally sourced grains, flour and other home-cook needs.

“We tried to fit as much perimeter grocery stuff in our store," David Priselac says. "We have most of everything you need — we just have less variety.”

To manage the inventory, the grocery will receive daily deliveries from its suppliers to keep the shelves fully stocked — such a boon to downtown residents, who until this time, had to drive elsewhere to get kitchen basics.

At the heart of the market is the grocery’s prepared-food and meat section. Chef Michael LaMantia takes the helm, offering shoppers the best meats: Elysian Fields lamb from Waynesburg, Pa.; grass-fed beef from Jubilee Hilltop in Bradford, Pa.; Berkshire pork from Serenity Hills; and pasture-raised chicken from Heritage Valley. The market will not offer commodity meats, but LaMantia is able to keep pricing within range because he will be doing much of the processing in-house — including many of the deli and charcuterie items. LaMantia also will offer items from Parma Sausage in the Strip District as well as New York’s Shale & Webber.
 


PHOTO BY EILEEN FRENCH
 


Turner Dairy and Family Farms Creamery, as well as local yogurt producers, will supply the dairy. The market will feature local as well as imported cheeses. Bread will be sourced from Allegro Hearth Bakery and Mediterra Bakehouse, with gluten-free items coming from Gluuteny.

The prepared food section will offer a wide selection of grab and go items for breakfast and lunch—soups, salads, sandwiches, fruit and desserts with a good selection of vegan and vegetarian items. The to-go items will come in innovative, environment-friendly packaging. All food is cooked in the downstairs kitchen, and full-service catering also will be available.

Wander toward the back of the store and you’ll find a cozy wine bar. The Market St.  bar is the first and only outlet for the Collefrisio Winery from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Try a glass (or bottle) of Montepulciano—a perfect way to unwind after a long workday. Shoppers can stay and enjoy a glass with some tapas or grab a bottle or case….maybe along with some flowers from Lawrenceville’s Green Sinner nursery.

All of this goodness in 2,400 square feet! The best of what’s local with a finely curated offering of gourmet goods from all over the world. Downtown definitely has a new gem — and downtown home cooks finally have a neighborhood source for quality ingredients.

 

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