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Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

 

The opening of a grocery store in what had been a derelict Beaux-Arts masterpiece is not simply a boon for residents of downtown Cleveland, it’s a great symbol of the importance of food to our communities. Hundreds of people came out for the 6-minute ribbon-cutting ceremony and to check out the newest resident. I asked Donna to join me and take some photos to document opening day (all photos here are hers). Does anyone know of a cooler grocery store in the country? If so, please tell me where!

Our local paper, The Plain Dealer (still the best-named paper in the country, though its plain dealing has been reduced to four days a week on actual newsprint), had the day well covered.

Our estimable architecture critic covers it incisively here, and does not hide his joy at how the integrity of the design, by George Post, has been restored. (Post’s previous design was for the New York Stock Exchange.)

Joe Crea, the PD food editor, covered it as a food destination (Heinen’s lured James Mowcomber away from his post as chef of Michael Symon’s Lolita).

And business reporter Janet Cho today reports on, well, the business of retailing food, now that the hoopla is over.

 

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These cases are where bank teller windows once stood. Our culture has traded commerce in cash for commerce in food, a good choice!

 

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It’s a traditional grocery store but still has a very urban feel.

 

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The second floor carries more than 2000 bottles of wine. You can get a four-pack of Sutter or a $200 cab. And you can taste 40 different wines via their Cruvinet system.

 

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Fish and meat are pricey but the quality is outstanding. I couldn’t resist the skate, which was gorgeous and made for a beautiful sauté in brown butter with garlic and thyme.

 

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Heinen’s, like so many grocery stores today, do their best to feature local products, whether pickles and horseradish, sauces by local chefs such as Dante Bocuzzi, and amazing Ohio cheeses (Donna and I swooned over the kokoborrego camembert-style cheese).

 

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Ed Thomkins pours celebratory Moët. Above right are the white-haired brothers, Jeff and Tom Heinen; tireless Cleveland booster, Joe Cimperman, Ward 3 Councilman, has his arm around Elee Hendon, who worked at Heinen’s in the 1950s and wanted to join the celebration.

I’m now afraid to enter this store. I’m going to spend way too much money here.

 

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© 2015 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2015 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.