With talk of a one-year ban on new restaurants along Valencia Street, San Franciscans may be forced to take such drastic measures as buying and cooking their own food when they find themselves at a loss for a new restaurant to try around the corner. Grocery shopping may become a horrifying reality.
Fortunately, Local Mission Eatery and Local's Corner owner Yaron Milgrom has plans to open a new market on Harrison between 22nd and 23rd streets later this year (which, if we had to take a stab, will most likely be deemed Local's Market). SFoodie had the chance to chat with him about his vision for the future of marketing in the Mission.
What inspired you to open the market in the first place?
Milgrom: It sparked at the moment I realized that whenever I fed my son, he would ask, "Who made it?" I could actually answer him all the time. We don't buy processed foods; we buy directly from farmers markets. A year into Local Mission Eatery, friends bought a building around the corner, and I asked what they were doing with the retail space because I had this great idea. The neighborhood needed a market, and it was the right place for it.
How will the store be laid out?
It's going to be a full-service grocery store. There will be a produce section, a butcher, a fishmonger, and cheesemonger, all from the same sources we use at Local Mission Eatery and Local's Corner. A bulk section, wine and beer (if we get the permits), candies, brittles, dried fruits and local nuts. Everything you would expect to find at a European grocery store, we'll have here. Tomato sauce, apple sauce, ketchup, mustard, pasta, crackers, breads -- all house-made from scratch, just like we do at the restaurants.
What is going to differentiate you from the other stores and markets around town?
From the initial concept, it was clear that we needed to make this convenient. Bi-Rite is one of the great grocers in the country, but it's hard to shop at Bi-Rite. We're not going to have more parking, so how can we make it easer to buy the food that we want to get to people? We are going to have an online web store that will make it easier for people to buy what they need. It will reflect what is in stock, and we'll have a pickup area to make it more convenient.
What is the tie between the mission of the restaurants and the mission of the market?
We've always been committed to the claim that you can eat locally and seasonally and you don't feel like you're being shorted. It isn't all or nothing. If people want to live a delicious life and a healthful life, a more ethical life, we're really coming through on that: really making the claim. We should all do that together. We also have the opportunity to give other people a way to grow their business: winemakers, farmers, etc.
Having fun yet?
When you open your doors it's really thrilling: nerve-wracking, but thrilling. We'll employ about 40 to 45 people who want to be involved in a local business, have a love for food, who want to gain very particular skills. I look around now and see my employees smiling, and that's what matters.