Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fun Food Exploration

When is the last time you entered a grocery store and didn't want to leave? For residents of the Pittsburgh region, this phenomenon happens on a frequent basis. That's because the Giant Eagle Market District is so much more than a supermarket; It's a destination and an interactive experience where customers can sample new products and watch chefs create a new recipe all while shopping for everyday groceries.

In November 2009, Giant Eagle, a grocery chain with more than 200 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, central and northern Ohio, northern West Virginia, and western Maryland, opened its third and largest Market District store in the Robinson area of Pittsburgh. The 150,000-square-foot supermarket carries more than 65,000 different products, including 250 kinds of national, microbrew, and premium beers. The store employs more than 650 people and boasts a certified aesthetician, a nutritionist, and professional consultants among its staff to aid customers at any time.

In addition to meat, seafood, deli, and bakery sections, the store offers a produce department complete with a hydroponic garden where lettuce and herbs are grown on the sales floor, and a cheese department consisting of 400-plus varieties of imported and domestic artisan cheeses from around the world. The store also possesses an impressive eatery with a hot and cold buffet bar, a Rösti bar, a crêpe station, made-to-order salads, an array of fresh satay, wok, and curry meals, and a coffee, juice, and smoothie bar. Before leaving, stop by the candy shop for some cotton candy, chocolates, or gelato made on the premises right before your eyes.

The Market District, however, is not only for shopping. The store often hosts events like cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, lectures by food experts, and health and wellness sessions led by nutritionists and medical professionals. The store caters to non-foodies as well. Want to learn your way around the kitchen? Sign up for one of the market's classes through its cooking school.

In the months since its opening, the culinary playground has received numerous accolades. The store is LEED certified and received the Progressive Grocer's 2010 Green Grocer Award in March for its environmentally friendly efforts. Progressive Grocer also named the Market District its April 2010 store of the month in a comprehensive article in its magazine.

The Market District is magnificent and truly a grocery shopping destination – one you must visit if taking a trip to Pittsburgh.

If you've been to the Market District, share your thoughts on this superstore in the comments section. Tell me what you like about it, or what you think the store might still be missing. If you're not in the Pittsburgh area, I'd like to hear about your favorite local market.


  1. The Giant Eagle Market District location in Robinson has become the most hated retail store experience for my elderly Mom. Even when we are in the area, she protests if I drive any where near it. She much prefers the smaller footprint of a regular Giant Eagle, Aldi, Foodland or Shopnsave.

  2. Wow! Really? I'm so surprised to hear that. I have no affiliation with the store, but I've always had a pleasant experience and found the staff to be friendly and helpful.