"We don't like to follow trends, we like to make them," Central Market's general manager told a group of media yesterday, gathered in store to get a preview of a new $10 million revamp, the first major renovation since the Houston location, 3815 Westheimer, opened its doors sixteen years ago. Even before the huge expansion, the high end H-E-B- brand store has been considered one of the best groceries for gourmets and gluttons alike, and now it's offerings are just simply astounding.
The store now features 10,000 extra square-feet, including a spacious entryway, checkout area, outside patio and additional seating upstairs, and lots of cutting edge additions you won't find in any other grocery store in town, and in some, the entire country. Here's what to expect on your next trip to Central Market.
The expanded fresh produce department grew by 33 percent, meaning that it's a touch bigger than the H-E-B Bunker Hill location, with devoted areas for mushrooms, peppers tomatoes, apples, tons of tropical fruit and even truffles.
A brand new Bean to Bar chocolate counter actually makes its very own chocolate bars in house from single-sourced cocoa beans imported from Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Madagascar and Tanzania. The result? Extremely dense and beautiful chocolate that you definitely will not be finding in any other store in America.
Among the 1,000 wines available at Central Market, a new premium Fine Wine Wall features rare, small production wines and numerous highly rated selections. It's not everyday you see bottles in the $500+ range just, like, uh, sitting there out in the open in a grocery store. Hope you brought the kids on a leash.
A large expansion of international food items from the British Isles, India, Greece and the Mediterranean region, and Asia – including Japan and Korea— really embraces the trend of Americans seeking out more diverse options when it comes to grocery shopping and home cooking.
Central Market is now home to the largest assortment of quality olive oils in the country with over 350 certified extra virgin olive oils from around the globe and a tasting bar that makes the process of selecting olive oil quite a bit like finding a great wine. Nose it. Taste it. Love it.
A new coffee/tea/smoothie bar features Lavazza Espresso, a seriously strong nitro cold brew and pour overs made via a swanky Poursteady machine—- one of few in town. The counter also sells beer (which you can drink in store while you shop, just FYI) and wine, including fancier pours that will be featured as specials.
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In the meat department, steak lovers will find a new dry aging case filled with all natural U.S.D.A. prime Angus beef sourced from sixth generation Texas ranchers. It arrives somewhat aged and is further dry aged in-store for a minimum of 21 days.
The store will celebrate its new relaunch with a Savor The South 'food festival,' running daily from now until May 30, with numerous farm to table dinners and tastings at Central Market Cooking School from $40 to $125 and loads of southern items for sale in the store including tomato pie, southern biscuits, Mississippi mud pie, blue crab, green tomatoes, okra, and collard greens, as well as a variety of cheeses and country sausage and meats including Benton’s, Edwards Virginia Smokehouse Cooked Country Ham and Lady Edison Ham.