by Andrew Morrison | Late last week I took a look inside the new Meinhardt store on the southwest corner Granville and Dunsmuir downtown. It was still very much a construction site while I was there, with tradesmen busily installing coolers and such, but it was easy to imagine it bustling with its broad, automatic sliding doors and streamlined checkouts. They’d clearly come a long way since their took possession in the Spring.
The 3,200 sqft boutique grocery will be like a New York-style bodega, meaning it’ll be very well stocked by people who know good food and appreciate that their hurried, urban customer base cleaves to quality and convenience. Sporting a mix of freshly prepared foods; rotating hot bars (think breakfasts, hot sandwiches and Banh Mi, comfort foods, etc); a salad station; pastries and baked goods; JJ Bean drip coffee; and a heavily curated selection of grocery items, the new Meinhardt will be like a tight distillate of the original on South Granville.
“For a lot of people, time is the new currency,” Michael Meinhardt, son of founder of Linda Meinhardt, explained as he showed me around. As most grocery stores overwhelm in their size and options, his aim for the new location is to have it solely concentrate on excellence. Instead of 10 options of a standard sauce or a particular dry good, there will be one or two, “and they will be the best.”
The chef overseeing the fresh food component is Elke Brandstatter, a veteran of Whole Foods and Meinhardt Fine Foods. Her menus will be similar to the original store. We can also expect lots of vegan and vegetarian options, plus regionally specific pop-ups that will let her temporarily concentrate on the flavours of, say…New Orleans, for a day before shifting her focus elsewhere. Opening day is scheduled for September 18th. Take a look…