The highly-anticipated new Phoenicia Specialty Foods officially opened on Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony and lots of pita bread!
Houston City Council Member James Rodriguez, Downtown Management District Director Bob Eury and others joined the Tcholakian family in opening the new Downtown store, located on the ground floor of the One Park Place residential high-rise. Officials hope the 28,000-square-foot store will become a go-to spot for Downtown residents and workers looking for everything from grocery staples to take-out meals to wine by the glass.
Featuring more than 10,000 products from over 50 countries, Phoenicia is being billed as a one-stop-shop—there’s a fresh pizza area, exotic seafood from all over the world, a sushi bar and even gourmet gelatos. The new MKT Bar inside the store offers coffee, wine and beer for those seeking a new kind of Downtown hangout.
Haig Tcholakian, son of Phoenicia-founder Bob Tcholakian and the company’s wine and beer manager, said the Downtown store will provide a window into the diversity present throughout Houston. “This is a culinary and cultural destination, not just a grocery store,” he said.
Bob Tcholakian and his wife Arpi opened the first Phoenicia Deli in 1983 in West Houston. Through the years, the family expanded the concept with an importing warehouse and later a 55,000-square-foot specialty foods market. Innovation and dedication to quality led Saveur magazine to name Phoenicia one of the “top ten food market in the United States” in 2009.
Perhaps the central fixture in the new store is the 150-foot conveyor belt that transports freshly baked pita bread from the market’s mezzanine bakery to customers on the ground floor. The bread is sold in store but also makes its way to restaurants around town.