Philly’s New Breed of Gourmet Market
BY ASHLEY PRIMIS
Last week, as I was making my usual cheese-and-bread run at DiBruno’s, I realized that, thanks to the recent addition of milk and eggs, I could actually get all the ingredients for my turkey chili dinner there. While I did grumble about the high tariff, I was willing to pay for convenience and for the quality goods: fresh ground turkey, Metropolitan bread, and a nice Vermont cheddar. Really, why should I have to make three stops?
Two recently opened food markets are building on the one-stop shopping ideal — being places where we can get our truffle oil and fancy cheeses while also picking up eggs, deli meats, a loaf of bread, and even, in the case of cheery Good Food Market in Chestnut Hill, Cheerios. The brainchild of some Hill moms, Good Food Market is the store they have long wished to have nearby: a place where they can get both the everyday brands they need — Duncan Hines cake mix, Cheerios — and have the option to go more upscale, organic, and local: bread from LeBus, cheese from DiBruno’s, milk from Montco’s Merrymead. Co-owner Liz Bales thinks of Good Food Market as “general store meets 2009”; we sort of think it’s like shopping at a farmers’ market all year long without having to stop at SuperFresh on your way home.
And yes, your thinking is right: organic and local also means expensive, and Good Food Market is aware of that. “We understand that not everyone wants to buy a $2 apple,” says Bales. “We are trying to provide something for every price point and budget.” But, she adds, the goal is to stay focused: “If you want 80 choices of white bread, you should go to Genuardi’s. This store caters to our little neck of the woods.”
Down in South Philly, local food writer Adam Erace (who we are proud to call a former Philly Mag intern) has opened up Green Aisle Grocery with a similar philosophy in mind. “We absolutely think a hybrid of gourmet store and supermarket is the new model for food stores in the future. From the beginning, we knew we wanted Green Aisle to be a neighborhood grocery where customers could both pop in for milk and eggs, and also find cardamom pods, Sriracha, and small-batch tonic water without having to run six different places.” Green Aisle even taps into our restaurant obsession: You’ll find humus from Zahav, mostarde from James, chili from Café con Chocolate, and barbeque sauce from Pub & Kitchen. “It’s incredible; customers shop at Green Aisle and thank us when they leave. We should be the ones thanking them.”