This April, Little Eater Produce and Provisions will open in the former Greener Grocer space inside the North Market in the Arena District.
This April, Little Eater Produce and Provisions will open in the former Greener Grocer space inside the North Market. The store, run by Cara Mangini, who openedLittle Eater in the market last month, will feature locally grown produce, cooking provisions and vegetable-centric educational programs including knife skills classes, dinners and seminars. We caught up with Mangini to talk plans for her second North Market stand.
Why did you want to open a grocery?
I have always imagined Little Eater would include a produce and grocery elements because vegetable education is such an important part of what we do. When the Greener Grocer decided to close, and the North Market was looking for a possible tenant, it just sort of clicked. I didn't imagine that it would happen this soon, but when I started putting all the ideas that I'd dreamed about for so many years on paper, I realized that I'd already developed the concept.
What is the concept?
We will do our very best to uphold the Greener Grocer's commitment to local farmers and producers, and I feel very honored to fill their shoes. What we might do that is a little different is offer a wider range of pantry items and provisions that will allow customers to cook basic and more involved recipes. We'll also sell seasonally focused and prepared foods. If you're picking up something else in the market, you can pick up something you can add to the meal.
What kinds of provisions will people find?
Special provisions-products that we've tracked down and vetted. The kinds of items that will really inspire your kitchen, made by people who dedicate their lives perfecting a product. The goal is to showcase products from Ohio, but also American-made items from all over. Things like special olive oils, vinegar, jams, chocolate, salt, grains.
Are you going to make your own value added items, like veggie stocks?
Once we are up and running, we will have more prepared foods that come from our kitchen. Things like stocks, sauces, spreads, salsas and veggie-based snacks.
What's it like opening two businesses at the same time?
[Laughing] It's insane. It's totally completely insane and I don't recommend it. But sometimes it's like you get to everything you want all at the same time. Just have to roll with it. I feel really lucky and grateful to have these opportunities. But I just have to go with it. I'm really lucky to have an amazing team of people who believe in what we're doing.
You are also working on a cookbook all about vegetables, due out next spring. Can you tell us the name?
I can't tell you. But it will cover everything you need to know on every vegetable variety, selection, storage and recipe.
Ultimately, I believe in the connection between food and health. Beyond that, I just have a real appreciation for them. I come from a big Italian family where the table is the center of the universe, and I love and appreciate everything that happens at the table and the anticipation that comes with every season. Vegetables are a way to mark the change of the seasons and provide a real appreciation for life. I'm really inspired by vegetables and we're hoping to share that passion for people.