Epicure Gourmet Market's newest location in Coral Gables is an ultra-modern take on the flagship Miami Beach location.
Located on the first floor of the Gables Ponce complex, the new store is larger and sleeker, featuring an expanded wine selection and large café. The spacious and airy store has the feel of a chic Manhattan loft, with high ceilings and wide aisles.
But what else is new and notable at the gourmet market, known for its high-end bites and expansive deli case?
We visited the store with Jason Starkman, CEO of Epicure, to find out.
As Epicure's leader walked with us, he stopped frequently to chat up customers -- most of them familiar with the market and thrilled to not have to commute to the Miami Beach for their favorite soups, cheese, and tuna salad.
Starkman told Short Order that first and foremost, the store has to be bright and clean. "Most of the time, markets are dark. I need the entire store to be bright. When you're here, I want you to feel like you're walking into a clean kitchen and you're buying food from a top chef."
Given 24,000 square feet of space to work with, Starkman decided to keep the counter areas wide open. "I have a feeling this store will have a lot of people, especially on the holidays." There's also a more intuitive flow to shopping in the store, he explains. "I connected all the cases together. As a customer, you can go down the line to the bakery, the deli, and the butcher. Everyone is cross-trained, so if the deli is busy, the bakery people can help out there. It's more efficient, and it works better for the customers."
As far as the deli is concerned, you'll see a lot of favorites, but the menu will be tweaked to match the tastes of the neighborhood. "You'll see there's a lot of variety on the line. When we see what's sold, we'll start to have a feel for the neighborhood. If customers like baby potatoes with herbs, we'll come up with other items that have the same seasoning. That's what keeps my chefs excited. I don't limit their creativity. They're the chefs. All I do is ask them what they need and buy it for them. Everything they make is incredible."
Also new to Epicure Coral Gables is a housewares department, with cutting boards, knives, glasses, and gadgets.
Walk through the cheeses, and you'll get to the wine department. "This is my baby. We have 5,000 bottles. This is state of the art. I wanted to make sure that we have the best value in Miami. In the cellar, we also have magnums, because that's something customers asked for."
The café seats about 150 inside and 35 to 50 outside. "The energy between the café and the market is the greatest in the world. It's so much fun. We can add any item on the menu because we have all this great product."
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The bakery will be stocked with fresh cakes and breads twice a day.
Starkman said he wanted to expand to Coral Gables for a long time. "We always knew the Gables was the place for us for year-round business. And I know people in the neighborhood will enjoy shopping here."