Local Mission Market, the ambitious new venture from Yaron Milgrom and Jake Des Voignes (of Local's Corner and Local Mission Eatery), is on track to open next week. The 2,700-square-foot market, which prominently features a large commissary kitchen where a team of professional chefs will make all the store's products in-house, sources its ingredients from local farms, ranches, and fishermen, and packages everything on the premises. If all goes according to plan, it should be open this week.
As I wrote in my August cover story about the rise of the 21st century supermarket, Milgrom and Des Voignes set out to rebuild the grocery shopping experience from the ground up. In the new space, which has a modern general store vibe about it, they strive to marry old values with new technology. So, the first thing you will see when you walk in is the butcher counter with a (presumably) friendly and helpful butcher behind it, and there are attractive, locally made bins housing bulk ingredients and local fruit and vegetables.
But instead of awkwardly writing numbers on twist-ties to identify your bulk groceries, you use a snazzy, proprietary iPad app to weigh and tag your ingredients. Roving iPad-equipped checkers will be on the floor to help you get out of the store more quickly. The market will also launch with a full online webstore where you can order groceries to pick up or for delivery in the Mission.
The space has the same quasi-industrial, reclaimed wood décor that so many new restaurants and bars have these days, but it's beautifully done, and, as Milgrom says, was chosen consciously as a nod to the industrial, warehouse-y history of the Mission neighborhood. Chalkboards display daily specials and the prices and names of shelved items. There aren't any aisles, and you'll be able to peek into the production kitchen from cutaway windows and interact with the chefs at work. And true to the market's mission, everything is local, down to the Black Acacia tree that makes up the checkout counter, felled in Laurel Heights.
Aside from all that, Local Mission Market also seems like it will be a great place to shop for groceries. The store will make its own vinegar, vanilla extract, hot sauce, cured fish, jams, pickles, bread, crackers, pasta, sauce, sausage, stocks, sauces, sofrito, caramelized onions, vinaigrettes, and more, and will also sell things like chicken carcasses for stock-making purposes — all of it made from the same ingredients that Milgrom and Des Voignes use in their restaurants. The goal of a lot of these pantry ingredients is to make putting a tasty dinner on the table easier and faster for busy Missionites. "It gives you the ability to build hours of cooking into your 20-minute meal," Milgrom says. For the extra-busy, there will also be small-batch prepared dishes available throughout the day.
Because everything is sourced locally, the inventory will fluctuate based on the season, and there won't be any tropical fruit. Milgrom and Des Voignes are allowing coffee, tea, chocolate, and spices, with the caveat that they're handled by local producers (i.e. the coffee is roasted locally, the spices are from a local importer).
When I first talked to Milgrom for the supermarket story, back in July, the construction workers were just putting in the drywall and the whole concept seemed like a beautiful, ambitious dream. Now it's nearly finished, and I'm excited to see how this new vision of the grocery store works in the Mission community.