Thursday, February 26, 2015

Downtown Heinen's Opens in Grand Style

Mobs of shoppers crammed every nook, aisle and cranny of the new Heinen's downtown for its grand opening yesterday, making the space feel like a cross between a trendy gallery exhibit and a looting-in-progress.

Had the market, located on Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street, not been prepared, shelves might have been emptied in the first few hours of business. But with a staff almost numbering the shoppers — you could barely take two steps without bumping into another friendly sales associate eager to escort you to the organics aisle, customer service counter or wine bar — row after row of immaculate products stood ready for the taking. Basically, this location is what grocery stores look like in heaven. Think we jest? Look up.

Tiffany-style glass adorns the 60-foot dome overhead. What's more, the second-floor space contains the kind of grocery shopping that should actually keep young downtown residents coming back again and again: Rows upon rows of wines and beers, complete with a draft bar and tasting stations sprinkled throughout. 

Heinen's pulled out all the stops for its first day in business. Local chefs Zack Bruell and Dante Boccuzzi were both on hand to promote their product lines. Bruell offered tastes of his olive oil in a fresh carrot and cilantro salad, while Dante Boccuzzi dished out steaming bowls of pasta coated in his new tomato and truffle cream sauces.

Housed in the 1906 Cleveland Trust Rotunda Building, this new retail spot embodies positive progress in Cleveland. Not only does it bring fresh food (as well as prepared menu items and beer and wine by the glass) into the city center, it's dusting off extravagant turn-of-the-century architecture, all while keeping control in the hands of Cleveland's oldest family-owned grocers. Here's to past and future, Heinen's. You actually make me want to go grocery shopping.

Heinen's Downtown Cleveland, 900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-302-3020,; Mon-Sat 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

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