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Downtown Fort Worth to get gourmet grocery store

Posted 2:36pm on Friday, Feb. 11, 2011

Downtown Fort Worth residents who for years have clamored for a grocery store in the coming months will get their wish when the owner of Oliver’s Fine Foods in Mansfield opens up shop in the historic Sanger Building at Fourth and Throckmorton streets.

The 6,600-square-foot store will be more than twice the size of the Mansfield location, but offer the same deli counter with Boar’s Head meats, a butcher counter where they’ll hand-cut meats and offer house-made sausages, fresh fish and seafood, and areas for fresh produce, cheese, wine and beer.

Owner Todd Bush said the store will be upscale, but likens it to neighborhood delis common throughout the northeast areas of the U.S. It’s likely the store will open in the fall, the landlord, Sundance Square, said. It will have breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings.

Not only will the store serve the downtown residents, Bush said he sees a lot of the downtown workers “running in and out” to pick up items.

“We’re extremely excited about going downtown,” Bush said. “There is a tremendous need and opportunity with the growing base of residents living in the downtown area as well as the large number of people who drive into Sundance Square to work during the week.”

Downtown has 926 owner-occupied residences and about 36,000 workers, according to Downtown Fort Worth Inc. figures. Among them, the top five floors of the Sanger Building house 59 loft-style apartments that opened in 1993. It is across the street from the 37-story The Tower, which has 294 condos.

About 69 percent of respondents to a Downtown Fort Worth Inc. survey three years ago said having a grocery store downtown was important. That continues to be the No. 1 wish of those residents, said Andy Taft, Downtown Fort Worth Inc. president.

“It has been a longstanding desire and a retail proposal that downtown has tried to land for many years,” Taft said.

Bush, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with an associate of arts degree and a certified executive chef’s degree, opened Oliver’s in about 3,000 square feet on East Broad Street in Mansfield in 2008.

The downtown store will have more shelves for canned and bottled foods and a section of prepared foods.

Customers who order fresh cut meats can also have it cooked before leaving the store. A lot of the product line will “depend on what our clients want,” Bush said.

The store will also provide catering.

Construction should begin soon on the space, last occupied by the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau. Sundance Square executives said they have fielded numerous calls from potential tenants the past two years, but have held out for just the right fit. Executives said Oliver’s will “round out” the amenities downtown.

“Oliver’s Fine Foods is going to fulfill this tremendous need,” said Johnny Campbell, Sundance’s president and CEO.

Oliver’s features an extensive line of meats, including sausages, poultry, beef, lamb, veal, venison, shellfish and fish. The store will also offer prepared signature dishes to go and such things as spreads, salads, dressings, soups, cut fruit, and fresh chips and salsa.

The Sanger Building was built in 1929 to house the first air-conditioned department store west of the Mississippi River. The Circle Theater is located in the basement of the building. Leddy’s Ranch Western Store operates in an adjacent space at the corner of Fourth and Houston streets.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/02/11/2842061/downtown-fort-worth-getting-olivers.html#ixzz1DgVSB01l

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