Food forward: Standard Market opens in Naperville Tuesday

Susan Frick Carlman
scarlman@stmedianetwork.com | @scarlman
May 20 2:30 p.m.

Naperville food shoppers have a new option in town. Standard Market is poised to open its second location Tuesday at the southeast corner of Aurora and Ogden avenues, putting a new twist on local grocery shopping.

At 40,000 square feet, the store is nearly 25 percent larger than its sister location 12 miles to the east in Westmont. That site, which opened in late 2011, has always drawn a substantial volume of patrons from Naperville, staff members said.

The new market, billed as “a celebration of food,” incorporates several features not found at the original store, including a house made gelato/sorbet counter and an adjacent station offering freshly popped popcorn with assorted flavorings; two separate sit-down areas for in-house dining, with more seating than the other location; a climate-controlled “cave” space for aging cheeses; and a coffee bar.

Tucked into a spot near the bakery is a fresh pasta station, and around the corner from that is a work area where sushi is rolled. Near that is a juicing counter, where customers can pick up individual juices or collections designed to help detoxify the system over a period of days.

Like its predecessor, the establishment spotlights Midwestern food producers but sprinkles in imported items, as well as domestic edibles from other regions of the U.S.

“The whole thing is about finding unique, delicious products that other places don’t carry,” said Ken Tsang, director of marketing.

Among the many locally sourced items are Lillie’s Q sauces, made in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood; Kimmer’s Ice Cream, which hails from St. Charles; and confections from Chocolate Twist in Riverside. Two local gluten-free bakers are among the store’s suppliers as well: Sweet Ali’s in Hinsdale, and Flur in Riverside. The most local product of all is a selection of bottled beers from Naperville’s Solemn Oath Brewery, which operates just up Ogden Avenue from the market.

“The emphasis is on local Midwest craft beer,” said Max Wolod, beer director, although the store also stocks assorted brews produced out of the region.

The beer selection is displayed in a light-filled corner of the store that also is home to a sweeping refrigerated case holding about 300 different cheeses, and shelves loaded with a vast variety of wines, several hundred of which are priced below $25. If they wish, customers can take a bottle of wine they’ve purchased into either the Cube or the Grill, the two food service areas, and open it to accompany their meal without paying an additional corkage fee.

Sam McDaniel, director of specialty foods, is particularly proud of how the young company has made a name for itself in the highly competitive world of craft cheese making.

“We’ve already won an award in a national contest,” said McDaniel, who is pleased with the variety of selections in the department. “We’ve very focused on American artisan producers, but we also want to spotlight some of the better European cheeses.”

The interior of the sales floor is arranged in pods, rather than traditional aisles. Lining the periphery of the store are the sprawling deli and sandwich areas, a vast array of sweet and savory baked goods made on site, the butcher case and seafood counter, among others. A dry-aging beef cabinet sits behind glass doors at the rear of the meat department, where all of the cuts for sale are butchered on the premises.

Some foods come ready for the home cook’s creative inspiration, but items such as stuffed chicken breasts and pre-marinated meats are available as well. Also to be had is an offering known as What’s For Dinner Tonight, a different collection of prepared foods for each night of the week that come in a handled shopping bag bearing a “WFDT” logo.

“People are busy, so we have a lot of time savers,” Tsang said.

The store hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. More information is at www.standardmarket.com.

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