Today I got the VIP treatment and was able to get a preview of the soon-to-open United Provisions in the Delmar Loop. The project unites Ben Poremba's group (Elaia, Olio, La Patisserie Chouquette) and the Prapaisilp group (Global Foods, Oishi, The King & I) to create the ultimate in worldly food experiences.
If you've been to the Loop in the last or so, you've seen this building rising like a phoenix. It's nice to see new construction in the Loop. Going in was even more impressive than I had expected. The eastern half of the store focuses on groceries and the western half has a smattering of prepared and cooked to order foods. It's much bigger than I had expected. Let's walk, shall we?
The view below looks out towards Mission Taco and the store's main entrance on Eastgate and Delmar. The far right side is where the registers will be once they're installed.
The first thing you'll notice are the ceilings. The grey coated open ceilings are countered by rows of wood-covered dropped ceilings. The store uses a lot of different natural materials to give it a modern and clean feel. I don't think I've ever been in a better looking grocery store. The space was designed by Tao + Lee And Associates. Bravo, Tao + Lee!
I was almost equally as impressed with the massive amount of freezers and refrigerators in the grocery section. Not only were there a ton of them, but they were the most modern looking ones I'd ever seen. It's going to be like the Apple store of international food in there.
Here we are turning towards the restaurant inspired part of the store. The wood counter you see at the right is the customer service area, while the tables being built will be part of the coffee shop area. The man putting them together is none other than sushi master Hama-san!
Here we go. This is taken from the other end of the store, looking back at where we just were. You can really get a sense of the store's size here.
From the white marble and left of that will be the sushi section and raw bar. This will be Hama-san's territory and my new favorite hangout spot.
The subway tiled side will be where the prepared and cooked to order foods will come from. Chef Tudor Seserman, formerly of Olio, will be the man at the helm of those stations. I got a sneak peek at the menus--things are looking delicious.
Here's a behind the scenes look at the kitchen. All sorts of gigantic and expensive cooking apparatuses. I had just missed Ben testing out the fryer with his famous fried chicken. Woe is me.
Here's the view from the coffee (and booze?!) bar. Behind me would be more tables facing out on to Delmar. If this picture continue further left, you'd see there's another area that will be an all-take out section for people looking to just run in and out, with its own check out counter.
The extended coffee bar and area where extra seating will go. Watch for that red wall to have a steel "United Provisions" sign.
Another feature to United will be their private meeting room. The room has the biggest sliding barn door I've seen indoors and this very funky light.