RIVER WEST — A long-awaited grocery store is open in River West.
Locally-owned Urban Market Chicago, 1001 W. Chicago Ave., opened last week, bringing a grocery store to the neighborhood after years of demand from neighbors.
The store features a wine and beer bar, a meat and fish counter, a cafe and a to-go coffee window, on top of standard supermarket staples.
Urban Market is owned by Christina Palivos and Maria Dernis, who have been building out the space for the past year.
“We’re not a corporate run grocery store. We’re a family-owned grocery store,” Christina Palivos said.
Palivos said she decided to open her store in River West because of the demand — the nearest grocery store is a Jewel-Osco about a mile away.
“It’s a very up and coming area, we felt that it could use a grocery store,” she said. “As the area’s growing in population, we thought the demand for a local-owned grocery store was” there.
Launching the store during the pandemic, Palivos decided to install wider aisles than are typical and a made-to-order cafe instead of a hot bar buffet. The store also features murals from local artists.
“We have made to order food, which a lot of grocery stores don’t do,” Christina Palivos said. “Due to COVID we thought that would be the best idea…a lot of people had shut down their hot wells because the cross contamination and people were scared to use the same spoon or fork, so we decided to go with the hot kitchen aspect of it, where there’s a chef back there.”
Urban Market owners had hoped to open the store last year, but they were delayed by supply chain issues.
“We had problems with our HVAC. There were certain parts that took basically three months longer to deliver, a refrigeration rack system that basically cools down all the equipment,” said Angelo Palivos, who is serving as the store’s general manager. “There were some computer chips that weren’t available and it took literally three months.”
Then, on Urban Market’s planned opening day of Dec. 28, the store’s computer system crashed due to a corrupt file. After ironing out the kinks, the store opened two days later on Dec. 30.
So far, the response from the community has been “great,” Palivos said.
“With all the delays, all the back orders, we finally feel like we can exhale and we’re finally at the finish line and we just crossed it,” Palivos said.
Urban Market is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily and plans to extend its hours later month.
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