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Pittsburgh’s grocery scene became a lot larger today with the long awaited unveiling of Giant Eagle’s 150,000-square-foot flagship Market District destination store in the new Settlers Ridge lifestyle shopping center in Robinson Township.
Earning the distinction of western Pa.’s largest supermarket, executives from the privately held grocer said the store design was inspired by the open-air markets of Europe, the rich, industrial heritage of Pittsburgh and a true passion for food. Laura Karet, senior EVP and chief strategy officer for the regional retailer, said Giant Eagle’s third Market District location “offers all of our best food ideas and discoveries in one place. As a company, we are so excited to bring our customers the very best food experience imaginable – fresh, unique, delicious, colorful – all of the things someone thinks about when they taste something new and incredible.”
Declaring the company’s first ground-up Market District location a “world-class shopping and dining experience bursting with amazing food and food expertise,” Karet said the store will engage shoppers in a variety of new ways, “from cooking classes and demonstrations to celebrity chef appearances and interactive events.” The approximately 650 team members led by store leader Dan Clunan, she added, “are passionate about food and provide exceptional service by sharing new products and recipes and offering new culinary ideas.”
Market District team members who are graduates from schools such as the Culinary Institute of America, the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute (PCI), and Johnson & Wales, complement Giant Eagle-certified cheesemongers and other trained food professionals.
“Our food training is extensive,” continued Karet. “Our people experience food from producers located all over the world, from small farmhouses to large suppliers. They then utilize this knowledge to help satisfy the culinary curiosity of our customers, sharing techniques, recipes and ingredients so customers are inspired to try new things at home.”
A series of special events will cap the grand opening festivities that get underway on Friday, Nov. 6, including in-store appearances by The Cheese Lady Sarah Kaufman and award-winning chef and owner of D’Artagnan (fine French specialty meats) Ariane Daguin. The festivities continue through the weekend with an appearance and cooking demonstration by the Food Network’s host of Chopped and Food Detectives, Ted Allen.
Giant Eagle opened its initial two Market District stores in Pittsburgh in 2006. “The three Market District stores welcome customers from all across the area to a new world of food, where they can sample restaurant-quality dishes, and find unique meat, produce, cheese and grocery selections from around the globe, hand-selected by our dedicated team members,” said Market District SVP Brett Merrell.
And though Market District is certainly a place for food enthusiasts, Merrell said the banner’s tie to Giant Eagle’s family of 220 supermarkets is not forgotten in view of attractive promotions, weekly specials, free antibiotics and $4 generic prescriptions, and the ability to earn and redeem fuelperks! loyalty rewards with the Giant Eagle Advantage Card.
In addition to many unique food experiences, Market District offers shoppers the opportunity to enjoy educational classes and demonstrations throughout the year at its new cooking school. A chef demonstration cooking area in the heart of store and an open presentation area for prepared foods also enables Market District chefs and food professionals to actively engage customers. For example, seasonally-themed classes will teach customers how to prepare a cheese board and make holiday centerpieces, and year-round, customers will be able to watch coffee being roasted, sushi being prepared, and pasta made fresh daily in the store.
“We want customers to enjoy a fresh food shopping experience bursting with how-tos, how-longs, which-kinds, and we-did-it-for-yous,” relayed store team leader Clunan.
Among the highlights of the new Market District location, which anchors the recently opened 600,000- square-foot Settlers Ridge lifestyle center, are:
● A hands-on cooking school under the direction of chef and cooking school manager Carey Palenchar, a graduate of L'Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis. The cooking school, located on the mezzanine level of the store, provides a place for cooks of all levels to explore new food ideas, share food knowledge, learn techniques, and take a range of classes taught by Market District and celebrity chefs and cookbook authors.
● An impressive array of fresh produce housed in the majestic 65-foot high “great hall” that features domestic, specialty, locally grown, seasonal and 125 organic fruits and vegetables.
● A hydroponic garden in the centerpiece “great hall” that uses overhead growing lights and a water circulation system to produce grown-on-site herbs and lettuces.
● An authentic Asian food station including fresh meats from a genuine Tandoori oven, spicy peanut dishes from satay grill, sizzling wok and curry favorites, and fresh-baked naan.
● A Rosti Bar features the national dish of Switzerland, a shredded Yukon Gold potato dish that is prepared with a variety of delectable toppings, alongside a Crêpe Bar with true French pancakes stuffed with a variety of sweet and savory fillings from meats and cheeses to whipped cream and fruits, all made to order daily.
● A Sweet Shop featuring fine chocolates, gourmet confections, hand-dipped chocolate novelties, and nostalgic candy classics, among others.
● Authentic and handmade Italian Gelato made daily with flavors like toasted almond pear, caramel coffee, tiramisu, coconut basil, and strawberry balsamic.
● A “Smoke and Fire” slow-roasting rotisserie that includes fire-grilled, tender, juicy roasted meats, ribs, chicken and more.
● Hot and cold food bars, featuring a smorgasbord of home-style favorites, authentic international dishes, wings, garden-fresh vegetables and gourmet toppings.
● Authentic sushi chefs making classic Japanese maki rolls, nigiri, sashimi, and bento with the freshest of seafood and organic rice.
● An artisan cheese shop with more than 400 artisan and imported cheeses hand-selected and aged on-site by certified cheesemongers including Beemster Goudas, Point Reyes Farmstead Original Blue, Sevre et Belle Bucherondin, handmade Mozzarella and French Comté.
● A charcuterie showcasing domestic and imported cured meats from countries such
as Italy and Spain, and unique products such as Saucisson pork from the mountains of France.
● An extensive selection of fresh meat and seafood, including dry-aged beef, steaks and roasts; fresh game meats like duck, venison, buffalo and rabbit; locally-bred Jamison lamb; homemade chicken sausage; fresh Alaskan King crab, shrimp, scallops, seasonal Copper River salmon and Mahi Mahi.
● A cornucopia of international foods with more than 10,000 natural and organic items, 7,000 international items and 4,000 unique specialty groceries.
● A bulk foods section that includes seven rotating varieties of olive oil, balsamic vinegars, 24 varieties of teas, 40 spices and hand-selected foods including granolas, trail mixes, rice, beans, seeds, dried fruits, grains, candies and snacks.
● Artisan, fresh-baked breads showcased alongside made-from-scratch cookies and donuts, and boiled and hearth-baked bagels in the Market District bakery.
● A beverage bar with coffee roasted on-site, seasonal specialty drinks, as well as mulled cider, eggnog, and fruit smoothies made with fresh-squeezed juices.
● An in-store chef demonstration kitchen complete with seating for 40, a bar-style seating area, two flat screen monitors and an enhanced sound system for viewing demonstrations where culinary experts showcase recipes from across the store. Customers can then hone their refined cooking and presentation skills with unique, high quality housewares including chic table settings and clever gadgets to gourmet cookware, kitchen appliances and serving utensils.
● An expanded health, beauty and wellness department that is filled with natural and organic cosmetics, vitamins, supplements, and personal care products, and staffed with a licensed esthetician and a licensed dietician/nutritionist conducting ongoing wellness events and activities.
● A spacious in-store restaurant that features free Wi-Fi access, real tableware and a vast selection of more than 250 microbrews, craft and specialty beers to enjoy with a delectable lunch or dinner meal.
Giant Eagle operates 160 corporate and 60 independently owned and operated supermarkets, in addition to 153 fuel and convenience stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland.