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Restaurants & Bars 4

Alameda Marketplace -- open

Ruth Lafler | Jan 4, 200303:34 PM

The food shopping scene in Alameda continues to improve, today with the opening of the grocery and bakery in the Alameda Marketplace (patterned after the Rockridge Market Hall), 1650 Park St. (at Buena Vista, the old Ford dealership). Parking in a small lot next to the building and the lot across the street.

The anchor tenant is Alameda Natural Grocery -- a combination grocery/natural foods (i.e., supplements) store. Although the amount of produce is not huge, the selection is surprisingly wide and all of it is organic. Quality is good, and prices are about what one would expect from organic (higher than the conventional at a supermarket but generally less than a farmers' market). Many items are listed by producer as well as variety. To give you an example, I bought: a huge Comice pear, a delicata squash, a bunch of chioggia beets, some creamer size yellow finn potatoes, a turnip, a parsnip, and some sunchokes (I'm making roasted root vegetables and polenta for a veggie potluck tonight).

There are several aisles of packaged groceries, also mostly organic (both the packaged goods and produce really brought home to me just how much is available organically these days), politically correct coffee, a dairy case with several product lines of organics and soy alternatives (yummmm ... Straus in bottles), and a frozen foods section (probably the one area I won't shop in -- lots of soy products -- if you're looking for Quorn, they have it in several forms). A decent selection of mostly organic bulk foods. Planned hours are 10-8:30 seven days a week. Since it is literally half block from my house, I know I'll be popping in there regularly after work.

A few steps down the hall is Alameda Artisan Bakery -- sort of a misnomer in my mind because they aren't producing any of their own products. Instead, they're retailing Grace Baking breads and products from other high quality bakeries (I was thrilled to see Food Mill cookies, since their Super Ginger cookies are one of my favorite cookies on this earth, but not carried widely). Planned hours are 8-8 (perhaps 7-8: when I told her I catch a bus out front every morning at 7:55, she said someone would be there at 7:45 **vbg** -- I wonder if they'll run a tab for me, so I can just dash in, grab a scone, and dash out to my bus!).

Schelduled to open soon: a Niman Ranch meat market (my impression is this will be a corporate-owned outlet -- this site is less than a mile from their HQ), a fish market and a florist. Also planned are a creperie, small deli, a coffee house, an ice cream place, a couple of restaurants and a wine and cheese shop. There are no specific tenant names listed on the plans for some of these shops, so these spots may be available for anyone who wants to jump in on what I think will be a successful venture: it's a highly visible location on a main artery, with plenty of parking in an area that's both relatively high-income and underserved. I know a lot of people, like me, will be happy when the day comes we don't have to leave the island to do that kind of shopping. Already I see my trips to the supermarket dropping from few to next to none.

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