Naperville's newest grocery destination wants its customers to celebrate food, and Standard Market officials say they will offer four ways to do that when their store opens Tuesday on Aurora Avenue just east of Ogden Avenue.
Patrons can buy ingredients such as produce, meats, artisan breads and freshly made pasta to cook at home; pick up a ready-made meal from the "What's for Dinner Tonight?" section; sit down for a bite at a coffee shop, a gastropub or a casual grill -- all right in store; or order a restaurant meal to go.
Standard Market co-owner Brett Verkaik says any of those options will allow Naperville-area customers to enjoy what he calls a "differentiated shopping experience" and celebrate food.
"We want to make it really convenient for people to enjoy food," said Ken Tsang, marketing director. "We realize people are busy and people want good quality."
Verkaik and the store's other owners have a background in produce sales, and the produce section is what customers encounter first when they enter the main doors near the northwest corner of the 40,000-square-foot building.
Tsang said unusual items such as dragonfruit, heirloom apples grown in the Midwest and fresh-squeezed juices join other raw and packaged produce in the store, which opens at 8 a.m.
"We want to be a place where people turn to when they're looking for something unconventional when it comes to food," Tsang said.
The Naperville store at 1508 Aurora Ave. is the second location for Standard Market, which opened in Westmont in 2011. Verkaik declined to provide the cost of building the new Naperville store. He said Standard Market is looking to continue its Chicago-area expansion but has not chosen any specific locations.
The Naperville market features a larger coffee shop, a larger seating area at the bar inside the store's wine, beer and cheese shop, and more varieties of freshly made pasta than the original Westmont location. It also includes a gelato bar, a bakery, a dry aging meat locker, a sandwich bar, a full deli and a sushi bar. Wide windows give customers views into normally behind-the-scenes areas where the butchers and bakers among the store's 250 staff members work their magic.
Standard Market customers won't find aisles upon aisles of "dry goods" or processed cereals, bags of chips or baking mixes. The store does carry those items, but Tsang said what it offers is chosen with an emphasis on local and regional providers.
Olive oils from Twisted Olive in Naperville, ice cream from Kimmer's in St. Charles and barbecue sauces from Lillie's Q in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago are among locally made products the store sells.
"There's just so much great stuff around here," Tsang said. "It just makes a lot of sense for us to bring in these great-tasting products from local artisans."
With only two stores, Standard Market buyers don't have corporate red tape to cut through when they hear of interesting local foods, said Sam McDaniel, director of specialty, who works in the wine, beer and cheese shop. The shop, which contains the in-store bar, will open any of its 600 wines for customers who want to try it before they buy it, and a 60-seat patio overlooking a pond can serve as a tasting ground.
"We can honestly say to the customers we like every single thing in here. We just don't carry it if we don't like it," McDaniel said. "We're actually trying to get them something that they'll really like, not just sell them the next thing on the list."