When Jake Riederer shut down his pandemic-era pop-up, Open Sandwiches, last year, he was ready to move on from the restaurant industry to a new kind of business.
“My wife and I started really thinking about the neighborhood market industry and loved the idea of opening in spots with food deserts or just revitalizing little neighborhood markets,” he said.
Their first opportunity was very close to home.
John Moutzouris, who bought Spinelli’s Market, 4621 E. 23rd Ave., from owners Jerry and Mary Ellen Spinelli in 2014, offered to sell half of the Park Hill neighborhood Italian market and deli to Riederer and his wife, Cecelia Jones. And it just so happened that Riederer’s mom lives in Park Hill, while Jones’ first-ever job was at Spinelli’s when she was a teenager.
“We were in talks with a couple of owners and John said, ‘Well, why don’t you just buy into Spinelli’s? I’m tired,’” Riederer said. “It was a quick route to learn the business.”
Now, Riederer, Jones and Moutzouris, whose family has owned Pete’s Fruit & Vegetables in the Hilltop neighborhood for 40 years, are getting ready to take over 12th Avenue Market & Deli at 2620 E. 12th Ave. in Congress Park, which also has a 40-year history. Current owners Shaun and Stephanie Johnson are retiring after 18 years of ownership, according to Riederer.
The 12th Avenue Market will continue to operate until the end of October, and Riederer, Jones and Moutzouris hope to reopen it as Congress Park Market by Nov. 15.
“It’s important for us to continue to honor the neighborhood the same way that 12th Avenue Market did for so long,” Riederer said. “We’re not trying to force something new on it. We want to continue serving every population that comes in, and we’ll have EBT (Colorado’s food assistance cards) available so anyone can access fresh produce and a good meal.”
The trio plans to keep the tiny U.S. Postal Service office that inhabits the space, although they will move it toward the front. Then they’ll use the space in the back for a deli.
“My mom … visits the post office all the time to drop things off, so I know what an important part of the community it is,” Riederer said. “With USPS having a tough time, there are a lot of people who utilize it, and it’s important to continue to serve the community in the same way.”
Congress Park Market will have a full deli counter with hand-cut deli meats and cheese, but no raw meat. There will be fresh produce, side salads like potato and macaroni, plus wine and beer.
As for Spinelli’s much-loved sandwiches, Congress Park Market will serve five of the most popular ones: Jerry’s Classic Italian; the California Classic; the turkey gouda and cranberry; the Caprese; and the muffuletta. But there also will be five new creations from chef Michael Neale, who previously worked at the upscale Chinese food restaurant Hop Alley, including a Japanese egg salad sandwich, a BLT with bacon jam, and a Korean fried chicken sandwich.
And although Spinelli’s still serves two of the specialties from Open Sandwiches — The Lee, a slow-roasted beef sandwich (by Hop Alley and Uncle owner Tommy Lee) and The Rodriguez (an iteration of a cochinita pibil from restaurateur and Casa Bonita head chef Dana Rodriguez) — “there will be no Open sandwiches served at Congress Park Market to start.”
“We wanted to give Michael Neale the room to flex his creative brain and come up with something special to him,” Riederer said.
Subscribe to our new food newsletter, Stuffed, to get Denver food and drink news sent straight to your inbox.
Denial of responsibility! Planetconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.