The invitation to visit the new Standard Market in Westmont was intriguing. The concept is that there is a series of European fresh markets under the same roof. In every section, there are three different options — grocery items, meals-to-go that still need to be cooked at home and fully-prepared and cooked restaurant quality food.
When we visited the store was in the midst of its grand opening celebration. There was a long line for the balloon man creating his art for children while balancing on really tall stilts. A musician tucked himself into a corner and played guitar to an audience sampling delights in every department. A face painter made sure all the kids went home properly adorned.
The samples were delightful, as you’d expect at a Grand Opening. My favorite was from a local company called Kissel’s. The company makes “one fruit, one spice” combinations. I sampled the apricot rosemary jam on a slice of cheese. It had an interesting flavor that made me think more about marinades and vegetables than english muffins. What I mean is usually an apricot jam is something I’d think about adding to a scone or muffin. The addition of the rosemary gave it an interesting flavor that made me think about other ways I could use it. Later I found cherry fennel, which was another interesting combination.
“Local where we can” is a big theme at Standard Market. The team works hard to source local products. Mixed with some of the more exotic options from locations around the globe, it’s a delightful experience. The staff clearly knows their products, even though the market has only been open a few months. The staff artfully mixed items from different market sections in combinations that might not typically come to mind. As someone planning a Memorial Day bar-b-que, I took note of their suggestions. It’s fun to be able to brainstorm with people who know you want to entertain with items that are unique, but not complicated.
As part of the media tour, we were treat to lunch in the Standard Grill, which would actually be a nice place to meet some girlfriends for lunch. It’s kind of an odd thing to say about a grocery store restaurant, but it was the first thing that came to mind as we sat eating and chatting. I have several friends in the area, so we could meet there for lunch on a Saturday.
One other thing really unique about the Standard Market is their no cash policy. They take credit, debit or gift cards. If you only have cash, they will exchange it for you at customer service. It’s a completely plastic check-out experience in the grocery store and restaurant.
In the butcher shop, we spent a lot of time chatting with the butchers about the store-made products. We took home several items, from Hawaiian sausage to marinated pork chops to prime t-bone steaks. (All paid for by us, by the way.) The meat market had other fresh and frozen options, but we restrained ourselves. After all, we’ll be back soon, so there’s no need to buy everything that interested us in one trip.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times The Fun. Image courtesy of Standard Market.