Yup, it’s true…I set myself up for an April Fool’s joke of my own.
In my earlier preview of Argenta Market, the long-awaited neighborhood grocery in the trendy downtown area of North Little Rock, I reported the opening to be slated for April 1. “No fooling,” I said.
But proprietors Shane Henderson and Jody Hardin would rather get it right, a little later, than stick to an arbitrary date. And get it right they did.
This morning, a crowd of about 100 pressed against the grocery’s outer walls as government dignitaries and folks from the Argenta Downtown Council and the Argenta Community Development Corporation congratulated each other and opened the market to the public. After a quick ribbon cutting, the crowd practically swarmed to enter.
An hour later, as I sit at the market’s laptop-friendly lunch bar against the window-glass front wall, the room is still buzzing. Several of the newly indoctrinated patrons are staying for lunch, freshly prepared by Chef Shane Henderson and dished out at the deli counter, salad bar or to-go pick up area. And 20 to 30 folks, some of whom have wandered in after the opening, are still buzzing about the store.
Several patrons are just downright giddy at the selections, today including some Hardin Farms strawberries that were still sucking minerals out of the dirt yesterday. I was pretty giddy myself when I looked in the super-cool Coke cooler (which, I’m told, was the first of its design in Arkansas) and found — get this — Mexican Cokes. You know, the ones with real sugar instead of corn syrup.
That alone, my friends, is reason enough to get over here.
There are still a few kinks in the system: many items not yet in the PLU system, and (yipes) no bottle opener for the aforementioned Mexican Cokes. But these things are expected with a new store, especially one as home-grown and locally-operated as Argenta Market.
But what is good — aisles of Arkansas-grown (and otherwise, as necessary by climate) fruits, veggies, meats and more — far outweighs the store’s first-day growing pains. I plan to whip up a nice pasta dish with the fresh goodies I pick up today, and come back later in the week for fresh meats for the week’s menu.
Hope to see you here!
(And a big boo-hiss to Jamie Walden, who has already ousted me as the Foursquare Mayor of Argenta Market. It’s on, Jamie, it’s on!)