Foodies, rejoice! The Grandview Yard Giant Eagle Market District is Open

Kristen Schmidt

The long-awaited Giant Eagle Market District at Grandview Yard (840 W. Third Ave.)is officially open, and it's everything you food nerds out there hoped it would be, with one possible exception: You'll have to share it with several thousand other disciples for the forseeable future.

Parking was a game of improvisational performance on Friday afternoon, when I stopped by with hopes to "meet and greet" celebrity chef Mario Batali. Alas, my schedule was tight and the line was long, and I settled for snapping an admittedly creepy pic of the chef from the undesirable side of a white plastic chain.

I did have time to cruise around the store for a while judging it and its contents. Here's what I found:

1. Is it local? Here, the answer is undeniably, and repeatedly, yes. Local stuff gets prime real estate at the end of aisles. Reps from Snowville Creamery and Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream were doling out samples in the dairy section. And in the butcher shop, signs take pains to detail where your lamb (call him Colin) was raised.

2. Look at those prices! Not surprisingly, the new store has some pretty sweet deals on items, all designed to entice you to come in and wander the aisles. Pints of Jeni's for $8.99! Luna burgers 50 cents off! Packages of raspberries 10 for $10! For this weekend, at least, the store has deals that could make a visit worth the trip to your wallet.

3. Booze! Wine and beer enjoy lots of real estate in this new store, and they're joined by a coveted liquor store. Pull a seat up to the bar situated at the entrance to the alcohol section and ponder what you'll wind up taking home.

4. Produce can be sexy. Pineapples have rarely been merchandised so beautifully. The produce section has an entire subsection for root vegetables! Fruits and vegetables are pure eye candy here.

5. No clue in the kitchen? No problem! The store devotes lots of space to prepared foods and fast-casual-style service. Soups, sandwiches, sushi, chicken wings, salads all looked lovely. Charcuterie is a highlight, but gourmet cheese is more downplayed than it is at the Upper Arlington store.

6. I saw a drone. Seriously, I saw a little disc-shaped drone hovering, then flying above the parking lot. Filming a future commercial? Beaming live images to a watchful corporate office? Acting as the cherry of an accessory on top of an elaborate sundae? Who knows. But seeing that thing was just as fascinating and bizarre as you imagine.

If you venture into this jungle/circus/fantastyland this weekend, time your arrival with opening or bring an extra measure of patience during a midmorning or afternoon visit. The store is crowded with shoppers and gawkers, and parking is competitive.

Giant Eagle Market District at Grandview Yard is located atWest Third Avenue and Edgehill Road, Grandview Heights.614-294-2186,