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[Granville Island Market. Image courtesy of pnoeric, Flickr.]
Summertime calls for long nights on the patio, delectable picnic fare and trips to sample the goods at your favourite markets! These favourite summertime pastimes inspired us to scour the Web for some cutting edge dining experienes and grocery vending concepts launching across the continent. Here’s our roundup of the top 5 innovative food purveyors in North America.
Kreative Find #1: in.gredients – East Austin, TX
Here they come to save the day (and the planet)! in.gredients will be the first ever “package-free and zero waste grocery store” in the U.S. All products offered in the store will be completely organic whenever possible, otherwise they’ll settle for all-natural, which isn’t a bad trade off if you ask us.
In.gredients will combine the efforts of the community, consumers, businesses and local farmers with the ultimate goal of eliminating food-related waste and promoting that old mantra, “reduce, reuse, recycle”. Except they really emphasize that, as much as possible, you should reduce, reuse and then recycle. So, how does this new venture differ from your neighbourhood Whole Foods? Well, that’s the ticket: Shoppers are invited to supply their own containers to carry off their ingredients! But fear not, if you happen to be running in quickly and find yourself unprepared, the store offers compostable or highly reusable containers for free.
Check out this promotional video from in.gredients
According to the In.gredients website, “The revolution begins 2011”.
Kreative Find #2: Dekalb Market – Brooklyn, NY
[Shipping container market in downtown Brooklyn. Image courtesy of Dekalb Market Facebook page.]
Set to open this summer, Dekalb Market is all about entrepreneurship, quality, community and sustainability. The market, built on a construction site in downtown Brooklyn, will be home to a unique economic opportunity for makers, artists, chefs, and farmers to showcase their wares. The set up is what makes this market truly stand out, as it consists of a collection of 40 salvaged shipping containers, each housing a different retail outlet, and will also host an “incubator farm” where farmers’ produce will not only be sold, but used by market chefs. That’s community in a nutshell.
Dekalb Market is an innovation of Urban Space, a “leading developer and manager of speciality retail markets in the United States and Great Britain”. They’re also the visionaries behind legendary ethical cosmetics chain, “Body Shop”!
Kreative Find #3: Eataly – NY, NY
[Eataly, Marketplace dining experience. Image courtesy of SingingBeagle, Flickr.]
Not too far from Dekalb Market, you can treat yourself to an authentic taste of Italy at a marketplace-meets-restaurant venture aptly named Eataly. Admittedly, this find is more “new to us” than “new” as the first location opened in (where else) Italy in 2007. Now this dining venture boasts locations all over the world, including Japan!
The way it works is that visitors can eat at various restaurants and cafés located right there within the market, and then shop for ingredients used to make those dishes at surrounding vendor stalls. Basically, you can go home with an uncooked, deconstructed version of your favourite meal and try to do it all again at home! For Vancouverites, think of it as a Granville Island where you can specifically buy all the ingredients used in the meals you’ve eaten at the food court and surrounding restaurants. What’s not to love about that?
Kreative Find #4: North Market Kitchen – Fredericks, MD
[Voltaggio Brothers (Left: Bryan Voltaggio, right: Michael Voltaggio) Image courtesy of Zagatbuzz, Flickr]
This dining concept is so new, it doesn’t even have a website yet, but whispers of anticipation have spread across the Web. North Market Kitchen (the working title) is another marketplace/dining concept dreamed up by Bryan Voltaggio. You may remember him as one of the contestants in Season 6 of Top Chef (his brother Michael Voltaggio ultimately snagged the title of Top Chef but Bryan wasn’t too far behind).
Voltaggio has been reported as saying that his direct inspiration for NMK was Eataly, but his project will have some crucial differences. Rather than being served in the usual sit-down fashion, market goers will have the opportunity to walk through an open concept, theatre style kitchen and watch chefs as they handle the ingredients and prepare the meals, then they’ll be able to grab the ingredients right then and there. Another important difference is, of course, the food itself. Rather than focusing on foods native to lands far, far away, Voltaggio’s venture will focus on what he does best: local, sustainable, organic foods procured in the United States.
Rumour has it that North Market Kitchen will be opening its doors in spring of 2012. That’s just not soon enough.
Kreative Find #5: Feastro, The Rolling Beastro – Rolling through Vancouver, BC
Food carts, food trucks and mobile cuisine aren’t necessarily new concepts, but they’ve come back in a big way. Feastro is a B.C. based food truck selling only the freshest seasonal fare, you’d never believe you got it off a truck! Their mobile kitchen serves up elegant, inventive cuisine like their Hawaiian inspired Bonzai Prawns served with a grilled pineapple brochette, Sashimi-grade Ahi Tuna Carpaccio with fried capers and a balsamic/wasabi reduction and a huge variety of delicious soft shelled tacos. Not only do they use products that are sustainable, seasonal and organic but they’re also committed to locally sourced ingredients, bought fresh every week.
This rolling gastronomic sensation was recently featured on the Food Network’s hit show “Eat St.” To find out where Feastro will be you can check out their site or download the free Eat St. App for a convenient way to track food trucks in your city.
Have you stumbled upon any kreative finds relevant to new grocery supply concepts or dining experiences? We’d love to hear about them! Post your comment and feel free to share a link.