Kim Hammer knows her neighborhood, and she knows what it needs.
She’s owned dessert and cocktail bar Bittersweet on Martin Street downtown for nearly three years and during that time she realized something was missing.
“We have amazing restaurants and bars downtown,” she said. “But there’s not anywhere to get the level of food you find in restaurants to be able to make at home.”
So Hammer came up with a solution: Raleigh Provisions, a grocery store that opened quietly last week.
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The store at 107 E. Davie St. carries the kind of local, high-quality products many of the nearby restaurants use in their dishes and much more, but it is not for folks looking for a big have-it-all grocery store.
“We don’t have a large grocery store downtown,” Hammer said. “But I have no intention of being that in any way whatsoever.”
In that way Provisions is similar to Standard Foods, the small grocery and restaurant on Person Street, which also carries local products.
The two stores, however, should draw on different customers. Hammer says she wants to bring together the people who spend time in a roughly four-block radius of the new store who want “all natural and clean food.” She’s also looking out for tourists.
“People who are new to this area and maybe not familiar with the high quality and density of amazing products that we have right here in North Carolina,” she said.
“We’re really blessed in this area to have this amazing stuff.”
And that includes local beers, said Hammer, who added that’s she’s quickly becoming a “beer nerd.” In addition to beer, the store sells jams, peanut butter, meat and a small amount of produce – she’d rather people buy directly from farmers.
She’ll have fresh bread from Night Kitchen, a bakery in Seaboard Station, and is working on a schedule for her baked goods. Hammer’s also bringing in a selection of Melina’s Fresh Pasta from Durham that she said is already a favorite.
The store is light and open, the products stacked and organized in careful rows with colorful labels on tables and metal or honeycomb-shaped shelves.
And Provisions is a family affair, Hammer said. The two employees also are Bittersweet employees.
“I have two kids and they love Bittersweet, but at (Provisions) I can give my son a job.”
Hammer’s 14-year-old son Max already is hard at work stocking and breaking down boxes, she said. His 9-year-old sister Evie is jealous.
“She wants to be part of it, too,” Hammer said, laughing. “I felt so comfortable as an owner doing this because I knew the neighborhood was excited, I had people in my company who were excited and everyone has been so supportive. It gives you a lot more confidence.”
Provisions is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett