Go Longo: The 905 grocer opens a second downtown location

Go Longo: The 905 grocer opens a second downtown location

Be prepared: The meals on sale at Market Longo (Photo by Davida Aronovich) 

It’s rare that the suburbs trump downtown on the food front, but for years the 905 has had one thing over the 416: a surplus of Longo’s supermarkets. Most core dwellers are not familiar with the grocery chain (before this week, there was only one downtown), but if owner Roseanne Longo has her way, that’s all about to change. A new 7,000-square-foot Market by Longo’s opened yesterday smack dab in the middle of downtown, just west of Yonge-Dundas Square, on Elizabeth Street. The store has all of the chain’s signature touches—pretty baked goods, an extensive deli, fresh fish, prepared foods, and a policy to sell only produce that’s been hand-picked within 20 hours—all packed into a scaled-down urban format to feed those who can’t make it to Oakville (or Brookfield Place).

Roseanne Longo at The Market 

The brand is banking on the trend toward nutrition-savvy eating habits and ready-to-warm meal solutions. “There are very food-savvy people out there looking for a fresh alternative. But not everybody wants to be a cook,” says Longo of the culinary climate. This store’s layout is designed to minimize hassle for the bleary-eyed working droves. The house “kitchen,” where such prepared foods as mushroom risotto and fennel salad sit on silver platters, is the first counter to greet customers as they enter. Other boutique-style departments have their own appeal. For fromage-ophiles, the shop features specialists certified by the Cheese Education Guild, who help guests navigate the selection of 300-plus types. The award-winning salad bar has over 40 varieties, but decadent pastries, most made with 35 per cent cream, aren’t for the calorie conscious. For those who feel their own view is expert enough, there’s also Longo’s “why not try” policy: employees will crack open a cantaloupe—or any other item—for in-store sampling.