The best trend in grocery stores is not a coffee bar, or a kombucha bar or mochi. The best trend in grocery stores is small. The Store at Gateway is 9,000 square feet. The typical Smith’s store is 170,000 square feet. Evidently, you can fit everything I need in in 9,000 square feet.
IF YOU GO
Address: 90 S. Rio Grande St., SLC,
Phone: 385-213-7900 Entrees: $-$$
The Store has a kombucha and coffee bar. It has a chef-prepared hot buffet and a whole menu of chef-prepared meals to go. It sells artisanal bread. And square American white bread. The Store sells a nice selection of local cheeses. And The Store sells Velveeta.
The first Store opened in 1968 in Holladay. Owner Paul Niederhauser honed its selection and purpose for The Store to become what had become nearly extinct: a neighborhood, all-purpose, family-owned grocery store. Turns out that is what everyone had been longing for, because supermarkets, what? Aren’t that super after all. Now Niederhauser’s son Scotty has opened The Store at Gateway, an area that’s been without a good grocery store forever until now.
About the eclectic selection, Scotty says, “We don’t want to tell people what they should want. We just try to have what they want.”
It turns out that a store this size and this open-minded is perfect for launching new foods from smaller companies: Laurie’s Chips started at The Store. Salsa del Diablo and Rico’s have always had a strong presence. Cakes de Fleur sells retail cakes at The Store. And local companies like V Chocolates, June Pie, Cutler’s Cookies and Publik Coffee are on the shelves.
“The food will evolve according to our customers,” says The Store Chef Paul Morello. Morello’s past is in fine dining and the food at the store shows that panache. Four-cheese mac and cheese, Payard’s recipe for apple rum cake, braised beef in merlot, as well as fried chicken, meatballs, sauces and pulled pork are some of Morello’s customer favorites now. “We have a hot soup bar and a sushi bar planned,” he says. And I’ll be baking breads in French wood pans.”
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