Central Market (Texas)
Division of H-E-B Grocery Company
|Headquarters||Dallas, Texas, USA|
Number of locations
|Products||Bakery, dairy, deli, floral, frozen foods, meat, produce, seafood, snacks|
|Services||Catering, cooking classes, wine classes|
Central Market is an American gourmet grocery store chain owned by San Antonio, Texas-based H-E-B Grocery Company. It specializes in high-quality, hard-to-find gourmet foods. Most locations also have a full-service kitchen, offer cooking and wine classes in their culinary school, and offer catering services. The chain has nine locations, all in Texas. Central Market was named "Outstanding Specialty Food Retailer" by Specialty Food Magazine and the National Association for Specialty Food Trade.
The original store opened in 1994 in the Central Park Shopping Center on North Lamar Boulevard in Austin, Texas, two years after its competitor Whole Foods went public. A popular following began immediately after the store opened. Many Texas foodies were attracted to the store's offerings and were willing to travel from other cities just to shop in the store. Beyond supplying hard-to-find products, Central Market's highly trained staff are knowledgeable about all things epicurean.
It was not long before H-E-B Grocery Company expanded the chain to Alamo Heights, Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston. The chain's second store opened in 1997 in a converted H-E-B on Broadway in the San Antonio area (in the Alamo Heights city limits). Two years later, a third store was opened on South Lamar in Austin. Fort Worth and Houston were introduced to the chain for the first time in 2001, with stores on West Freeway and Westheimer, respectively. Central Market's sixth and seventh stores opened in 2002 on East Lovers Lane in Dallas and Coit Road in Plano. Continuing its Dallas/Fort Worth area expansion, an eighth store opened at The Shops of Southlake in Southlake on December 6, 2006, and another store opened in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas on February 15, 2012.
Central Market specialties
Central Market is known for its Café on the Run, which includes several featured areas intended to give customers the most extensive selection of options for fresh, convenient meals. The chain also carries a line of exclusive organic products called Central Market Organics. The product line includes organic or all-natural items ranging from commodities such as milk and eggs to pasta sauce and cookie dough.
Central Market deliberately limits floor space allocated to packaged products, allowing more space for fresh produce, meat and seafood, bulk products, and chef-prepared items. The produce section stocks items such as crab-apples, Meyer lemons, sweet limes, and pink lemons that are hard to find at other stores. The limited space for packaged products is devoted primarily to items that cannot be found at other supermarkets. Other aisles follow the same pattern with an emphasis on local, imported, organic, and gourmet brands rather than standard supermarket products. Central Market also offers a wide variety of sushi which is made in house by sushi chefs. The company that provides the sushi is called Sushi Avenue Inc. based out of Eagan,Mn.
As appropriate for a store that first began in Austin, the self-styled "Live Music Capital of the World", most Central Market locations feature a patio with live music on several nights each week.