By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
Customers who enjoyed the fresh fish and fine meats at Tony’s Market and the Piggly Wiggly in Saltillo will be happy to know those treats are available again at The Home Chef Market.
Located in the Crye-Leike Plaza on North Gloster between Mist and Oscar’s Wine & Spirits, the gourmet grocer not only offers fresh fish and meats but also produce, imported beers, cheeses, Boar’s Head deli meats and hundreds of gourmet items.
“One of the things that drove me to do this is that we don’t have a Fresh Market, a Whole Foods, a Trader Joe’s here,” said Lizzette Van Osten, one of the owners. “Our shop really is to fill that niche.”
Van Osten and her business partner, Sandy Turner, celebrated the grand opening of The Home Chef Market on Friday, with free samples and giveaways.
“The goal of the store is to educate the home chef on quick, fresh foods you can do at home,” Van Osten said. “We want to be the source for freshness and quality meats and produce.”
Turner, a full-time real estate agent, will be in and out of the shop on an as-needed basis.
“I’ll help out here when I’m needed, but I’m more like a consultant,” she said. “I’ll handle the bookkeeping and some of the administrative stuff.”
What’s for Dinner Club?
One of the owners’ goals is to make preparing dinner an easy task for the home cook. To that end, they’ll soon be cranking up the What’s for Dinner Club?
“People are so busy right now and they don’t even want to think ahead about what they want to make for dinner,” Van Osten said. “So what we’ll do is, I’ll send out a weekly meal plan with each night’s meat, sides and greens. Then people can call ahead and order the meals for the nights they want – including how many they’ll be feeding – and we can have it all packaged for them to pick up on the way home.”
The reason the club isn’t up and running just yet is because Van Osten wants to make sure the store carries every ingredient necessary to make the meals she will tout.
“We want to be the one-stop source if we can be,” she said. “We’re trying different vendors right now, seeing which ones we like the best. We’ll hold off on the What’s for Dinner Club? until we have a complete well-rounded set of vendors. But it should be in the next couple of weeks.”
Gabrielle Cooper of Tupelo was in the store on Friday for a second visit, picking up specialty items and some Bone Suckin’ barbecue sauce.
“I do believe I’ll be a frequent shopper here,” she said.
Gift baskets available
While Van Osten and Turner hope to stock some unusual and hard-to-find gourmet items, they know their core business is going to be the sale of fresh fish that’s flown in every Wednesday evening, and the fine meats, including Certified Angus Beef, pork, veal and sausages.
“We had a customer come in yesterday and buy some halibut,” said Van Osten, who moved to Tupelo in 2009 from San Francisco. “This morning, he sent an e-mail with a picture of his grilled halibut served over creamed turnips and sautéed spinach. It looked fabulous.”
John Burleson, a butcher at both Tony’s and the Pig in Saltillo, has joined the team at The Home Chef Market.
“Certified Angus Beef is an awesome product,” he said “My customers know it’s good beef. It’s a cut above choice and prime. Less than 8 percent of all beef qualifies for the brand. It pretty much sells itself.”
Van Osten and Turner are also excited about one-of-a-kind gift baskets they’ll be able to fashion for customers. Whether it’s a pasta theme or an Asian theme or a princess-themed breakfast basket, the ladies will be happy to customize them, no matter how small or large.
“We’ll do them for any occasion,” Van Osten said. “And they can include a gift certificate for a bottle of wine from Oscar’s next door or for our meat market.”
Coming soon will also be frozen casseroles to go. They’re still looking for a reputable supplier for those.
“We already have people coming in every other day to shop,” Van Osten said. “We just really want to educate people about different food items they’re not used to seeing in Tupelo.”
Check it out
– What: The Home Chef Market
– Offerings: Fresh fish, meats, produce, imported beers, cheeses, gourmet items and gift baskets
– Where: 1203 N. Gloster, Suite F, in the Crye-Leike Plaza on North Gloster between Oscar’s Wine & Spirits and Mist
– When: Monday-Saturday, 10
a.m. to 7 p.m.
– Info: Call (662) 269-2533 or visit homechefmarket.com. Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or feedback@homechef