"This thing was a wreck last night," laughed Morgan Weber as he gestured toward the now-spotless interior of Revival Market this morning. The long-awaited butcher shop / grocery store / coffee bar is scheduled to open this Monday, March 21, at 6:30 a.m.
Weber is one of the partners in the store along with Ryan Pera, former chef at The Grove and one of Houston's leading charcutiers.
The two men seemed giddy with relief as they showed off the store's gleaming white subway tiles behind a long butcher counter, its wooden boxes that will soon stock local produce and the city's first dry curing room. Four hams hung inside it, a row of spindly soppressatas and salamis dangling like dark red icicles beneath them.
"I just hope people get it," Weber said. Because although a local foods-lover might swoon over the store's vast selection of Texas products and produce, the casual grocery shopper might do a double-take at being unable to find, say, Imperial sugar or a loaf of Wonderbread.
That's not Revival Market's game.
Pera and Weber are dedicated to stocking almost exclusively locally grown foods, locally raised meats and locally sourced ingredients. Those products will also make up the bulk of what goes into their prepared foods as well, in what Pera calls "something more important in my career than just cooking."
"We want to change the way food is perceived, eaten and sold," Weber chimed in.
Pera added, "I still want to use my training as a chef," as he spoke of the areas of the shop that would be dedicated to prepared foods and small meals, "but I want to make this food and these sandwiches with really quality ingredients."
Along with prepared food and sandwiches, patrons can expect to find a wide variety of "regular" grocery store items at Revival Market: strawberry jam made in-house with berries from Atkinson Farms; fresh yard eggs from Weber's cousin; pork from Weber's own farm in Yoakum; cheese from the Houston Dairymaids; pastries from Rebecca Masson; bread from Slow Dough; milk and buttermilk from Way Back When Dairy; cornmeal from Elm Mott; sorghum from Sweet Home; olive oils from the Hill Country; pickles and kimchee and vinegars that Weber and Pera make themselves on-site.
Even the coffee bar is stocked with local ingredients: beans from local roasters like Amaya and Katz along with milk from Way Back When and sodas that head barista Frank Freeman is making himself behind the bar. A sunny strawberry soda this morning matched Freeman's cheerful attitude as he cleaned and stocked his station.
"People are upset about the Walmart going in down the street," he said with a smile. "Not me."
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"It's an even trade. It balances out the universe."
For more photos and more information on Revival Market, check out our slideshow.