Hear ye, hear ye! Good people of North Beach: your long awaited Publix is now open for business. It seems like decades ago when Publix closed its doors for the year-long makeover. The people of the neighborhood got by on the goods at corner store bodegas where bagels are stocked in the ethnic food aisle, patiently lusting for the days when they could finally pick up some Publix fried chicken on their way home and make it to the couch in time to catch 30 Rock.
So you can imagine what a relief the recent grand opening was, evidenced by the droves of people who attended that first day to check out the new food source--the upgrades were hard to miss. The shop's makeover includes an additional 20K square feet of "shopping pleasure" which means more room for organic and ethnic foods, as well as a liquor store and pharmacy and the all important expanded parking lot. In addition to the traditional deli, the department has been expanded to include more prepared foods to choose from:
- Chef's Selections: chef-inspired collection of appetizers, entrees and side dishes including cedar plank salmon and orzo salads
- Handcrafted Sandwiches: Boar's Head meats and signature subs also available
- Pacific Wok: Pan Asian favorites like Kung Pao Shrimp, General Tso Chicken and fried rice
- Hot Soup Bar: featuring gourmet soups daily
- Salad bar: fresh vegetables and ingredients and salad dressings made fresh daily
- Specialty Cheeses: artisan cheeses from around the world
- Mediterranean Bar: loads of olives!
So what did shoppers think? We kept our ears peeled for comments and reactions. Here's what we heard:
"That was amazing" - couple leaving the store weighed down with groceries
"Do you want to try it" -employees offering samples of all the new prepared foods
"As long as they've got the organics" - mindful local who was tired of driving so far to get his fix
"It will die down in four days" - the check out girl who had helped open other Publix's and assured me crowds will be a normal size in exactly four days.
"Watch out" - elderly couple who warned us that the escalator up to the store was ending as we snapped photos of the cool shopping cart carrier-thing that took filled carts downstairs.
"Thank you for bringing me over here" - one of the approximately 175 North Shore Publix employees to his manager as he left his shift
"It looks cool but at the end of the day it's just a Publix" - jersey shore look-alikes who just didn't get what all the fuss was about
The state-of-the-art rebuild signals the arrival of North Beach on the scene, just as it did for downtown Miami earlier this year. As these neighborhoods grow and change, Publix is taking note and adapting to the area's needs. Since the dawn of civilization, food markets have been the heart of a neighborhood, essential to our survival and well being and now North Beach has one. Check it out and let us know what you think.