Healthy Living Market & Cafe is creating a chef-driven food program that’s part of what it calls the “grocerant” trend of grocery/restaurants that’s becoming more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
HL Fresh starts Monday in all Healthy Living locations. The market founded in 1986 by Katy Lesser has 320 employees at stores in South Burlington, Williston and Saratoga Springs, New York.
Chef Matthew Jennings is overseeing the program that has a team of chefs emphasizing house-made meals and seasonality with a rotating menu. Initial offerings include breakfast sandwiches, ready-to-heat and ready-to-serve meal options, sandwiches and made-to-order salads. Planned expansions include catering, a return of the hot-food bar and expanded cook-at-home options.
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Other Vermont locations, such as Edelweiss Mountain Deli in Stowe, are turning their market-styled businesses into places where customers can buy chef-made take-away food. Edelweiss co-owner Jeff Clarke said he saw that trend starting even before the pandemic made eating at home the norm.
“The time is here,” he told the Burlington Free Press in October.
Edelweiss hired Christian Kruse, former chef-owner of the Vergennes Laundry restaurant, to upgrade its to-go menu. “You can make grab-and-go food attractive and creative,” Kruse told the Free Press in October. “Their customers were requesting this and they’re still requesting it. It’s been a big hit.”
Healthy Living said in a news release that customers can expect the winter menu to include Jennings’ macaroni and cheese as well as vegan lasagna and Thai green curry with pickled raisins. The goal is to have chefs in each location contribute to the future of the HL Fresh program.
“Attracting great talent,” Jennings said in the news release, “fostering it and empowering the chefs and their kitchens to be creative and forward thinking, while still being drive by a detailed vision is my dream.”
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