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Food Network's Guy Fieri calls 150,000 square-foot facility "the Disneyland of grocery stores"

PITTSBURGH, November 5, 2009 /PRNewswire/ — The world of food just got much larger.

Inspired by the open-air markets of Europe, the rich, industrial heritage of Pittsburgh and a true passion for food, Giant Eagle®, Inc. unveiled its third Market District location — a 150,000 square-foot culinary, dining and shopping destination — on Thursday, November 5, in the new Settlers Ridge lifestyle shopping center in Robinson Township.

The official grand opening will kick off on Friday, November 6, with in-store appearances by The Cheese Lady Sarah Kaufman and award-winning chef and owner of D'Artagnan (fine French specialty meats) Ariane Daguin. The festivities continue on November 7 with an appearance and cooking demonstration by the Food Network's host of Chopped and Food Detectives, Ted Allen.

When first opened in 2006, the company's initial two Market District stores introduced Pittsburgh to a whole new world of food. As the Food Network's Guy Fieri recently exclaimed in Whirl Magazine, the Market District concept is "the Disneyland of grocery stores." The Market District stores appeal to food enthusiasts who enjoy taking part in and learning about the sights, smells and tastes of new, fresh and exciting foods. The latest generation, third Market District store in Robinson takes that concept to an even higher level, delivering a food utopia that is the largest food store in Western Pennsylvania.

"The opening of the new Robinson Market District offers all of our best food ideas and discoveries in one place," said Giant Eagle Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Laura Karet. "As a company, we are so excited to bring our customers the very best food experience imaginable – fresh, unique, delicious, colorful – all of the things someone thinks about when they taste something new and incredible.

"When customers visit this new store, they will enjoy a world-class shopping and dining experience bursting with amazing food and food expertise with everything from cooking classes and demonstrations to celebrity chef appearances and interactive events."

Karet added that the approximately 650 team members led by store team leader Dan Clunan are passionate about food and provide exceptional service by sharing new products and recipes and offering new culinary ideas. Market District team members who are graduates from schools such as the Culinary Institute of America, the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute (PCI), and Johnson & Wales, complement Giant Eagle-certified Cheesemongers and other trained food professionals.

"Our food training is extensive," concluded Karet. "Our people experience food from producers located all over the world, from small farmhouses to large suppliers. They then utilize this knowledge to help satisfy the culinary curiosity of our customers, sharing techniques, recipes and ingredients so customers are inspired to try new things at home."

According to Table magazine's Caryn Csuy, the Robinson Market District is "the foodie version of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory" and offers many opportunities to discover the "ooooo" in food:

  • A hands-on cooking school under the direction of chef and cooking school manager Carey Palenchar, a graduate of L'Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis. The cooking school, located on the mezzanine level of the store, provides a place for cooks of all levels to explore new food ideas, share food knowledge, learn techniques, and take a range of classes taught by Market District and celebrity chefs and cookbook authors.
  • A bounty of Garden-fresh produce housed in the majestic 65-foot high Great Hall that features domestic, specialty, locally grown, seasonal and 125 organic fruits and vegetables.
  • A hydroponic garden in the centerpiece Great Hall that uses overhead growing lights and a water circulation system to produce grown-on-site herbs and lettuces.
  • An authentic Asian street food station including fresh meats from a genuine Tandoori oven, spicy peanut dishes from satay grill, sizzling wok and curry favorites, and fresh-baked naan.
  • A Rosti Bar features the national dish of Switzerland, a shredded Yukon Gold potato dish that is prepared with a variety of delectable toppings, alongside a Crêpe Bar with true French pancakes stuffed with a variety of sweet and savory fillings from meats and cheeses to whipped cream and fruits, all made to order daily.
  • A Sweet Shop that features the finest chocolates, gourmet confections, hand-dipped chocolate novelties, nostalgic candy classics like Necco Wafers and Pixie Stix, fresh-roasted nuts, hand-dipped caramel apples, fresh-spun cotton candy and homemade kettle corn.
  • Authentic and handmade Italian Gelato made daily with flavors like toasted almond pear, caramel coffee, tiramisu, coconut basil, and strawberry balsamic.
  • A Smoke and Fire Slow-Roasting Rotisserie that includes fire-grilled, tender, juicy roasted meats, ribs, chicken and more.
  • Hot and cold food bars, featuring a smorgasbord of home-style favorites, authentic international dishes, wings, garden-fresh vegetables and gourmet toppings.
  • Authentic sushi chefs making classic Japanese maki rolls, nigiri, sashimi, and bento with the freshest of seafood and organic rice.
  • An artisan cheese shop with more than 400 artisan and imported cheeses hand-selected and aged on-site by certified cheesemongers including Beemster Goudas, Point Reyes Farmstead Original Blue, Sevre et Belle Bucherondin, handmade Mozzarella and French Comté.
  • The finest in charcuterie showcasing domestic and imported cured meats from countries such as Italy and Spain, and unique products such as Saucisson pork from the mountains of France.
  • Expertly selected and cut fresh meat and seafood including dry-aged beef, steaks and roasts; fresh game meats like duck, venison, buffalo and rabbit; locally-bred Jamison lamb; homemade chicken sausage; fresh Alaskan King Crab, shrimp, scallops, seasonal Copper River Salmon and Mahi Mahi.
  • A cornucopia of international foods with more than 10,000 natural and organic items, 7,000 international items and 4,000 unique specialty groceries.
  • A bulk foods section that includes seven rotating varieties of olive oil, balsamic vinegars, 24 varieties of teas, 40 spices and hand-selected foods including granolas, trail mixes, rice, beans, seeds, dried fruits, grains, candies and snacks.
  • Straight-from-the-hearth artisan breads, crafted at dawn and fresh-baked daily are showcased alongside made-from-scratch cookies and donuts, and boiled and hearth-baked bagels in the Market District bakery.
  • A beverage bar with coffee roasted on-site to brew frothy cappuccino, creamy latte, seasonal specialty drinks, as well as mulled cider, eggnog, and fruit smoothies made with fresh-squeezed juices.
  • An in-store chef demonstration kitchen complete with seating for 40, a bar-style seating area, two flat screen monitors and an enhanced sound system for viewing demonstrations where culinary experts showcase recipes from across the store. Customers can then hone their refined cooking and presentation skills with unique, high quality housewares including chic table settings and clever gadgets to gourmet cookware, kitchen appliances and serving utensils.
  • An ongoing schedule of in-store events to entertain and educate shoppers, including live music and daily cooking demonstrations from resident and celebrity chefs.
  • An expanded health, beauty and wellness department that is filled with natural and organic cosmetics, vitamins, supplements, and personal care products, and staffed with a licensed esthetician and a licensed dietician/nutritionist conducting ongoing wellness events and activities.
  • spacious and inviting in-store restaurant that features free Wi-Fi access, real tableware and a vast selection of more than 250 microbrews, craft and specialty beers to enjoy with a delectable lunch or dinner meal.
  • Culinary stars and celebrity chef appearances to celebrate the grand opening include:

    Ted Allen, host of Food Network's Chopped and Food Detectives and the food and wine specialist on the groundbreaking, Emmy Award-winning Bravo series Queer Eye. Saturday, November 7, 11 a.m.

    The Cheese Lady, artist Sarah Kaufmann, who carves the Pittsburgh skyline from a 1,000 pound block of Wisconsin Cheddar. Friday, November 6, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Ariane Daguin, award-winning chef and owner of D'Artagnan (fine French specialty meats). Friday, November 6, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

    Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds – nationally acclaimed cookbook authors, food writers and culinary instructors. Saturday, November 7, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

    The Organic Gardeners, Jessica Walliser and Doug Oster – organic authorities, columnists and co-hosts of The Organic Gardeners. Sunday, November 8, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

    Christy Rost television chef, entertaining expert and author of The Family Table: Where Great Food, Friends, and Family Gather Together, Sunday, November 8, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

    Robin Miller, star of Quick Fix Meals on the Food Network. December 11, noon – 3 p.m.

"The three Market District stores welcome customers from all across the area to a new world of food, where they can sample restaurant-quality dishes, and find unique meat, produce, cheese and grocery selections from around the globe, hand-selected by our dedicated team members," said Senior Vice President of Market District Brett Merrell.

"But Market District also satisfies customer needs for a full weekly shop. While customers can find unique items not available elsewhere, they also can purchase everyday items like national brand detergent and popular beverages under the same roof."

Merrell added that Market District is the place for food enthusiasts, but the banner's tie to Giant Eagle's family of 220 supermarkets is not forgotten. Market District features attractive promotions, weekly specials and pricing, free antibiotics and $4 generic prescriptions, and ability to earn fuelperks!® and redeem foodperks!® loyalty rewards with the Giant Eagle Advantage Card®.

A cooking school and retail theater that creates a personal experience

In addition to many unique food experiences, Market District offers shoppers the opportunity to enjoy educational classes and demonstrations throughout the year at its new cooking school. A chef demonstration cooking area in the heart of store and an open presentation area for prepared foods also enables Market District chefs and food professionals to actively engage customers.

For example, seasonally-themed classes will teach customers how to prepare a cheese board and make holiday centerpieces, and year-round, customers will be able to watch coffee being roasted, sushi being prepared, and pasta made fresh daily in the store.

"We want customers to enjoy a fresh food shopping experience bursting with how-tos, how-longs, which-kinds, and we-did-it-for-yous," concluded Store Team Leader Clunan.

The announcement is being celebrated with a 10:15 AM press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the store featuring Market District executives, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, and a celebrity chef-judged, $10,000 PCI student culinary scholarship contest with Pittsburgh Steelers legend and Grill 36 owner Jerome Bettis, fellow restaurateur and Big Burrito restaurant group chef Bill Fuller, and cookbook author and food celebrity Katie Lee.

The new Market District location is in the recently opened Settlers Ridge lifestyle center, a 600,000 square foot regional center development located in Robinson Township.

About Market District from Giant Eagle

The Giant Eagle Market District destination store concept offers an enhanced food shopping experience geared toward food enthusiasts. Market District offers specialty and unique items not found elsewhere in an environment where customers' passion for food can be cultivated by a staff of food experts. In three locations in the southwestern Pennsylvania region, the Market District stores feature teams of chefs and other culinary professionals preparing fresh foods from scratch every day. Market District also offers customers the rare opportunity to find natural, organic, specialty and other unique items paired with the convenience of favorite national brands and everyday needs all under the same roof. Further information can be found at

Giant Eagle Inc., ranked 39 on Forbes magazine's largest private corporations list and recipient of Grocery Headquarters' 2007 Retailer of the Year Award and the EPA's ENERGY STAR Retail Partner of the Year Award, is one of the nation's largest food retailers and food distributors with approximately $8.2 billion in annual sales. Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle, Inc. has grown to be the number one supermarket retailer in the region with 160 corporate and 60 independently owned and operated supermarkets in addition to 153 fuel and convenience stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland.

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