Fresh and Wild jumps on the “convenience food” bandwagon
As we reported a few months ago, the trend in food shopping is toward streamlined shops that offer prepared food for busy urbanites. Longo’s is doing it, Loblaws is doing it, Mark McEwan is doing it, and now Fresh and Wild is doing it. Construction is underway at the Distillery District location as Jason Rosso, ex-chef at Sassafraz and Rosewater Supper Club and currently the director of operations of the Distillery Restaurant Group, is giving the grocery store a makeover to make it more accessible to the neighbourhood, as well as to hungry travellers. “Our primary focus is on prepared foods, like roast chickens and oven-fresh pizzas. We also started a salad bar where you can pick and choose from 30 items.”
Aside from prepared foods, Rosso is also stocking the shelves with more recognizable brands and is in negotiations with Sweet Escapes to carry its baked treats. He also says he’d love to include Soma chocolates in the store. To help become a “community store,” Rosso is even lowering the prices: “It was quite expensive before. Now you can get a full dinner, like chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies, for about $5.99.”
As for the infrastructure, the pantry-like metal shelves are staying put, but the café is being expanded with a lounge area. Rosso is also applying for a liquor licence for the patio and plans to start a summer music program for the weekends. The store is currently open, but he says it’ll be two weeks before everything’s finished.