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Good news for city kitchens

Cathy Jett reports today in her What’s In Store column that Olde Towne Butcher Lee Russell is looking at expanding his shop into a small grocery market. The expanded store would be one block up or down William Street from his current location, though it doesn’t sound like an exact location has been disclosed.

“It will be a boutique grocery store,” Russell said. “We’re not going to have, like, a half-dozen types of mayonnaise. Maybe one or two. We won’t have a cavernous grocery store, but we’ll probably have everything you need and be able to get in and out pretty quick.”

Downtowners for some time have voiced a desire for a smallish grocery store that could keep them from having to run out to Central Park or Giant in between big weekend shopping trips for odds and ends for weekday meals.

Since Russell opened, I’ve gotten a lot more relaxed in my weekly menu planning, knowing that I can decide just before leaving work that I want to roast a chicken, and make it happen without hauling a cart through a larger store.

Another new business is also trying to cater to the needs of downtown pantries. Foode, across from Whittingham’s on Caroline Street, is a restaurant that includes a small market area where you can buy local honey, homemade tomato sauce, seasonal produce and a few other odds and ends. Check out next week’s Food section to learn more about Foode founders Beth Black and Joy Crump.

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  • George

    I have to give a big “thumbs up” to Foode. I’ve been there myself I think three times since they’ve opened. My wife is a huge fan.

    The food quality is good and the prices are reasonable. And the owners and staff are very friendly.

  • Rufus

    It is a great idea to have a grocery store downtown. What ever happened to the plan to convert Fredericksburg Hardware into a grocery store? It makes a whole lot more sense than putting some million-dollar condos in that spot. Everyone in town would go there. Why not give the old hardware store to Mr. Russell to fix into a food store? The current owner of the Fredericksburg hardware should convert the building into a grocery as an act of philanthrophy .

  • George

    Fredericksburg business leaders have tried to get a smaller grocery chain such as Trader Joe’s into the old Fred Hardware, but there has not been a positive response.

    I would agree that providing an incentive to get something we need into that space would be more useful than some of the incentives we have provided. I am looking forward the Emily’s or Bill’s or whoever is writing the article on the incentives – are they working to the benefit of the citizens of Fredericksburg? Are there good reasons for handing out incentives “after the fact” to ensure the businesses stay open to take advantage of the capital improvements they made on their own?

    Getting something besides more apartments or condos into that spot would be a good reason for an incentive!