The corner market may be getting a second chance if the recent opening of Howden Market is any indication.
From the people behind the next door Spice Monkey restaurant, the market opened on Wednesday at the corner of 17th and Webster Streets in Oakland’s booming Uptown neighborhood. The quaint, impeccably styled store offers a deli counter and coffee station (serving Bicycle Coffee) and a few aisles of gourmet foods and snacks.
It might be a more modest gourmet store to open, compared to a recent high-profile opening across Lake Merritt in the Grand Lake neighborhood. And that might be a good thing, considering that that other market (Grand Fare) abruptly shuttered just weeks after launching.
Howden Market positions itself as a neighborhood store. While I was there Saturday, several curious locals walking in the hood popped in to check out the space. The area should be busier during the weekdays with the various office buildings nearby, so Howden hopes to cater to the busy workers dropping in during their breaks or after work to grab a quick bite to take home.
The aisles are stocked with gourmet foods, many labeled organic, natural, or gluten-free. Some of the brands are what you’ll find in stores like Whole Foods or Bi-Rite, but I also spotted some new ones as well, an indication that the owners are trying to be the spot for some hard-to-find specialty foods.
Along with a cheese section and refrigerated aisle, the market plans to start selling bread from Berkeley’s Metropolis Baking. The deli, of course, is serving salads and other items from Spice Monkey.
BTW, I’m a big fan of the mural by local artist Jack Chappel above the refrigerated section.
The market is still ramping up in these early days, but hopefully they find their stride in the coming weeks and become a regular fixture in Uptown.
The deets: Howden Market, 1630 Webster St. (at 17th), Oakland. PH: 510.922.8385. Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. (Closed Sunday) howdenmarket.com
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