After successfully rehabbing a corner market in Highland Park, Rob Collins is taking his talents to the North Side. Collins, who revived the Bryant Street Market in Highland Park, has taken over the space at 1327 Arch Street in the North Side’s Mexican War Streets district and opened the Allegheny City Market.
Allegheny City Market, which opened on Saturday, offers a mix of conventional, organic, gluten-free and natural products, on top of local items including dairy, eggs and chocolate. It takes over the space formerly held by Doug’s Market, which closed late last year after 18 years of business. Collins says he hopes that his new market can be a fresh update on the corner grocery which caters to the neighborhood’s diversity.
“The people who are going to come here live right here in the neighborhood,” Collins says. “For all of the products on the shelves, we’ll have an organic option and we’ll have a conventional option. If you want Campbell’s soup, we’ve got that, but if you want Wolgang Puck’s organic soup, we’ve got that, too.”
A double-sided gondola running down the middle of the store is packed with pasta and fresh bread, and the shelves are stocked with all manner of non-perishables and dry goods. A cooler toward the back of the market offers customers a respectable selection of fresh produce for a corner store.
Soon, Collins will start offering coffee service with beans from La Prima in the Strip, and prepared food made on-site, including the sandwiches — they’re incredibly popular items at his Bryant Street location, and Collins anticipates they will be here, too.
“We sell 1,000 sandwiches a month over there,” he says.
The only thing Collins’ market won’t carry is fresh meat; it requires certain kinds of coolers that the space, which has been a market since it was built in 1895, just doesn’t have room for. He will, however, carry a selection of frozen, local grass-fed beef and similar options.
When the weather improves, he plans to take advantage of the sidewalk space by putting tables and chairs in front of the market for customers to sit, read the newspaper and enjoy their food.
“There’s a pretty nice awning out there, and we get a lot of sunlight in the morning. We’ll throw a couple tables out there and just bring them in at night.”