Archive for January, 2012

New Market District Closer to Goldilocks Size

Friday, January 20th, 2012

There once was a grocery store in Shadyside that had all kinds of gourmet ingredients available.  People flocked to it from all over Pittsburgh and its aisles got too crowded and little Goldilocks couldn’t find room to push her shopping cart and she complained, “this store is too small!”

So, the supermarket chain opened up a store in Robinson that had all sorts of room for anyone to push their shopping cart through a voluminous chamber that offered a bakery, a deli, a coffee roastery, hydroponic lettuce garden, and more.  Little Goldilocks pushed her carts up and down the aisles for hours on end until she realized she had no idea where she was or how to find the registers. “This store is too big!” she complained.

So, the supermarket chain opened up a new grocery store in Pine that had plenty of space to push your cart through a cafe and a bakery and a deli and a cheesemonger and a bulk foods section and an amazing selection of produce, and little Goldilocks said, “this store is still pretty big but I feel more comfortable in it.”

Giant Eagle has opened up a new Market District store in Pine Township.  It’s actually their fifth store under the Market District heading, and it pulls out all the stops, as has come to be the norm.

The produce section offers anything you’re looking for, from a Buddha’s Hand to dragonfruit to more run of the mill offerings like lettuce, tomato, onions, and peppers.

The bakery offers cakes in a variety of sizes, including a smattering of gourmet cupcakes with house-made buttercream icing, and many other appealing options (I put the bakery to the test by trying a blueberry muffin.  I’m inevitably disappointed with bakery blueberry muffins, but I was pleasantly surprised to find theirs had enough blueberries, good crumb, and excellent flavor).

The bulk foods department was by far the section I was most impressed with.  From dried morels to quinoa to excellently priced maple syrup ($10/lb!), and beyond, one could eat well based on the bulk offerings alone.

Even the dairy department has a wider than normal selection of products, including pasteurized/ non-homogenized milk (the secret to shaking the paperboard carton: scissor the top instead of pinching it).

Giant Eagle is justifiably proud of their newest store (actually a remodel of an existing Giant Eagle), and threw a huge celebration to show it off.  They had live music, demonstrations from celebrity chefs, cheese carvings, and a lot more that you wouldn’t expect at a supermarket.  I took pictures and had planned on posting them, but somehow managed to delete them off of my phone whilst (and at the same time as) not uploading them to my computer.

The hoopla surrounding the opening of this store was definitely a stark contrast to the shopping experience I get at my local Eagle (store 63, in Greenfield).  And there’s a large part of me that wishes I was able to get a fraction of the extras offered at the Market District in an ordinary Giant Eagle.

The growth areas in our local grocery shopping options tend to be at the fringes of the market: whether Aldi or Bottom Dollar swooping in to the bargain market or Market District and Whole Foods clambering over each other for the top.  Very little has changed in the middle of the road shopping experience.  I hope Giant Eagle might observe the enthusiasm with which shoppers greet the Market District offerings and provide some of the amenities to more of the stores, and help all of their customers to feel a little bit of the Market District zing.