Market Restaurant to add grocery store in downtown Raleigh

From staff reportsSeptember 13, 2012 

Market Restaurant has focused on farm to table since it opened some two years ago near Raleigh’s Oakwood neighborhood. Now chef-owner Chad McIntyre is ready to try farm to grocery store.

McIntyre’s planning to open a grocery story adjacent to the restaurant when it moves to its new location in a revitalized building on Franklin Street between North Person and Blount streets. ( Escazu Chocolate, Yellow Dog Bakery and a local leather artisan will round out the tenants in the old strip center.) It’s right next to Raleigh City Farm, whose founder Josh Whiton is a buddy of McIntyre’s. While Whiton is not partnering in the venture, he will be around for advice, McIntyre says.

Residents in the surrounding neighborhoods have long wanted a local grocer though the last effort – Capital City Grocery, which closed in 2008, only lasted about two years.

McIntyre says Market has a better chance because it will be a lot smaller than Capital City, more like a bodega.

“They tried to be all things to everybody,” he says. “We’re looking to be the small town grocer. We may have a few rolls of toilet paper but we’re not going to have the motor oil, mops and brooms.” The plan is to have a butcher, local produce, local cheeses, homemade pastas and sauces, and a knowledgeable staff. It also will sell prepared foods.

“From a feeding aspect we want to be all things to everybody,” he says. “We want the shopper and the ones who don’t want to cook to come to the restaurant.”

Before any of that can happen, there needs to be financing. A lot of it. McIntyre says he’s getting closer to the $500,000 it will take to get up and running, but he’d love to get to $750,000 for a bit of a cushion. The goal is to be open sometime in March.

To help get there, McIntyre has turned to Slow Money NC in Pittsboro, and its co-founder Carole Peppe Hewitt.

The organization raises money from local people to offer affordable loans to sustainable farmers and local food business owners. In the two years since it started, Slow Money has facilitated 50 loans, totaling almost $600,000.

There will be a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Market restaurant at 938 N. Blount St. for residents to learn how they can get involved in the project as investors, supporters and consumers.

“If someone wants to put in $100,000 we’ll sit down and talk to them about an equity partnership,” McIntyre says. “If someone lives in the neighborhood and wants to put in $500 or $1,000 because they want us to succeed we’ll give them a return on their money.” That, he says, could be something as simple as 10 percent off their groceries for a year.

Taco Taco Cafe will soon arrive in the Triangle. The restaurant got a little fame outside its San Antonio home when it was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and named “Best Tacos in America” by Bon Appétit. Franchising must have seemed inevitable. Franchisor Shashin Desai will open the first outside of San Antonio in the Triangle in early 2013, but is still looking for a site. His plan is to open several in the area.

If chain food isn’t your thing, there’s JD’s Grill and Backyard BBQ. It has opened at 400 Southtown Circle in Rolesville.

Staff writers Mary Cornatzer and Andrea Weigl

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