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Topic 37 of 64: The new Central Market

Sun, Apr 25, 1999 (12:12) | gretchen gardner perry (gretchengirl)
Has anyone been to the new Central Market? If so, what did you think?
10 responses total.

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 1 of 10: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Apr 25, 1999 (12:59) * 6 lines 
Hey Gretchen, I haven't been there yet, but I read the articles about it
and it sounds like folks are swamping it. Does it have any of the
ambience of the Central Market on N Lamar. They have a great outdoor area

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 2 of 10: Stacey Vura (stacey) * Mon, Apr 26, 1999 (09:57) * 2 lines 
where is the new one???
(I'm sad... B's going to Austin while I'm in Houston... okay, not sad JEALOUS!

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 3 of 10: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Tue, Apr 27, 1999 (16:19) * 5 lines 
It's on Ben White in an old shopping center, the name slips my mind right
now, it's the shopping center where they used to have the movie theater
with the rocking chairs. The one I wish hadn't closed. I still haven't
been there because I'm such a north austinite these days. Kelso wrote a
funny column about the opening, it became such a major event (non-event?)

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 4 of 10: Stacey Vura (stacey) * Tue, Apr 27, 1999 (17:06) * 1 lines 
Ben White and I-35 area?

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 5 of 10: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Wed, Apr 28, 1999 (08:54) * 124 lines 
a coupla miles from there I would guess.

From Kelso's column:

We who live in South Austin are glad the new Central Market Del Sur, or if
you prefer, H-E-Bubba, has finally opened in our part of town. It seems
like we've been waiting forever so we can play cow chip toss with those
enormous portobello mushrooms in the massive produce section.

When I went by Wednesday for the grand opening, the parking lot was so
full that the place looked like Six Flags Over Rutabagas.

"Geez, I didn't realize how many people in South Austin have never seen a
banana," I thought to myself.

It's a beautiful store, but there's room for improvement. It doesn't have
everything a good old boy needs.

H-E-Bubba has a rack loaded with tiny glass bottles full of what the sign
calls "essential oils" -- among them patchouli, geranium and tea tree.

Swell, but where's the Pennzoil?

Still, you'll find some south-of-the-river touches. The beer section
carries about 350 beers.

The supermarket where I usually shop has 350 beers, but 349 of them are
Bud Light.

Just kidding. H-E-Bubba carries about 350 kinds of beer -- some of them

"For the record, they're going to have Pearl and Lone Star longneck
bottles," said Russell Patterson, of Capitol Beverage, speaking of a
couple of old-timey Texas beers that you won't usually find under the same
roof with fiddlehead ferns. "We had some special requests from South

Still, H-E-Bubba could do more to cater to its South Austin clientele. How
come they haven't set up a keg near the checkout line?

"Over by the bulk stuff, this guy was looking at the jelly beans, and he
was saying, `Hey, man, this is South Austin. You ought to have bulk
snuff,' " said a guy who identified himself as Kirk. He works at the meat

It's true Central Market doesn't carry bulk Skoal or beef jerky. But not
all the food is organic. Take your bulk "squiggle worms" -- brightly
colored, gummy, slug-shaped items that get into your fillings and refuse
to leave.

Sure, H-E-Bubba sells some groceries I don't see myself buying. If you
ever see me purchasing a bag of "Zen Party Mix," you have my permission to
shoot me. And I don't expect to load up on the previously frozen octopus,
yogurt pretzels, or even the fresh pumpkin tortellini.

Pumpkin tortellini. That sounds like the name of a topless dancer more
than something you'd jot down on your grocery list, doesn't it? "OK,
everybody, put your hands together for Pumpkin Tortellini." And you could
say the same thing for the "pixie tangerines" over in produce.

On the other hand, the new Central Market has some down-to-earth goods I
didn't expect to see -- such as bacon and Meyer's sausage.

And if you want beef jerky, you can go next door to Cavender's Boot City.
They've got a big display case full of it up front by the cash register.

And, this from an April 8 news story in the AAS:

Rose Cutsinger was the first to enter. The South Austinite arrived in the
parking lot of the hottest, most happening spot in South Austin at 7:05
a.m. Wednesday to ensure her place in grocery history. "We've been waiting
so long for this wonderful store to open, and I wanted to be the first in
line. I'm looking forward to fresh food and vegetables every day."

By 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes after the ribbon was snipped to open the new
Central Market at the busy intersection of South Lamar and Ben White
boulevards, she had been joined by more than 1,000 foodophiles. Only in
Austin would aged Parmesan and citrus fruit inspire such fanaticism.
Traffic was bottlenecked. Cars circled the overflowing parking lot. "This
is preparing us for Y2K," quipped one woman in line.

The long-awaited, oft-delayed opening of the city's second Central Market
-- recognized nationally as a cutting-edge supermarket for the quality and
sheer quantity of its products -- was an event unto itself.

"Welcome to South Austin," Sally Hahn quipped to employee John Campbell,
who was at the front door shaking hands like a politician as the
elbow-to-elbow crowd baby-stepped its way into the 70,000-square-foot

"This is going to give our neighborhood a real boost," said Hahn, who
lives less than a mile away. "This shopping center had really gone down. .
. . Now, South Austin is a happening place. We'll show people that Bubba
likes to shop at Central Market, too."

Shoppers creeping along were overwhelmed by the variety of food choices,
from fiddlehead ferns to salt-water-boiled Dungeness crab.

Cutsinger, who had walked around the corner from her apartment complex,
was beside herself. But 45 minutes after the store opened, she had only a
carton of milk in her basket. "I've been talking too much," she said.

Central Market appeased its shoppers with 1,000 free T-shirts, which went
in minutes. There were food samples in every department: brioche, a rich,
textured bread from France; hibiscus herbal tea from Egypt; seafood cakes;
Pederson's Canadian bacon; venison sausage.

Jennifer McNeely, the manager of the Healthy Living section, had to remind
people that chunks of the natural glycerin soap that looked and smelled
just like watermelon were not edible.

Three women who called in to work to say they'd be late were blocking an
aisle in the already packed produce department. "Oooh, look at the 99-cent
strawberries. I'm taking an extra basket for Kate," one of them said.
"Look over there, cucumbers without all that awful grease," marveled

"We can't tell you who we are," explained the third. "We just had to be
here. We came early to have coffee, chat and shop. We were supposed to be
at work at 8, but I won't make it before 11. My husband is going to kill

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 6 of 10: Stacey Vura  (stacey) * Wed, Apr 28, 1999 (09:37) * 3 lines 

78704 - It's not just a zip code. It's a way of life!

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 7 of 10: wer  (KitchenManager) * Fri, Apr 30, 1999 (00:50) * 3 lines 
a belated welcome, Gretchen!

the wife's been (on opening day) but she prefers the original

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 8 of 10: George Klos  (osceola) * Fri, May 14, 1999 (13:36) * 3 lines 
It's at Ben White and Lamar (I can walk to it). The Westgate Theater was torn down but will be rebuilt. That's not the theater with the rocking chairs -- you probably mean the Southwood on Ben White (just 2 blocks from my house, what a drag to lose it), which has been converted into a laser tag arcade.

The new Central Mkt's OK and I'm sure will get better. Those places are best for specialty shopping, not really your weekly grocery run.

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 9 of 10: Stacey Vura (stacey) * Fri, May 14, 1999 (16:31) * 1 lines 
unless you're independently wealthy...

 Topic 37 of 64 [austin]: The new Central Market
 Response 10 of 10: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, May 14, 1999 (18:16) * 9 lines 
. . . like Stacey (just kidding).

Yeah, I had this place mislocated at that shopping center with the rocking
chairs, guess you can tell I've been remiss in my expeditions to South
Austin. I ought to go there from time to time for old times sake. Being
up North and working and living North, my old stomping grounds seems
worlds away. How does it compare to Central Market Central George? Have
you been to both?

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