What happens when a restaurant reviewer becomes a gourmet grocer? Adam Erace, who readers may know better as the food critic for Philadelphia Weekly and the Courier-Post, is about to find out. Today, he and his brother Andrew are opening Green Aisle Grocery on East Passyunk Avenue, a diminutive specialty market that specializes in organic and local products, from Lancaster dairy to Philly-baked breads to organic soaps made right in South Philly.
So what inspired Erace to get into the grocery business? “I created it for selfish reasons,” he said. “It’s everything I like in one spot - it’s like the best of the bodega, the farmers market, the Asian market and Acme. It’s great for milk and eggs and bread or for more esoteric items that I’m all geeked out about, like dried hibiscus blossoms.”
How will Erace deal with the potential conflict between his new in-the-industry business and his restaurant reviewing? His plan is to avoid reviewing restaurants on Passyunk Avenue (as evidenced by Dan Packel’s substitution as reviewer in today’s write-up of Fond), as well as restaurants whose prepared goods he is selling. He originally planned on not being the “face” of the store, but has since changed his mind in light of the eroding anonymity of reviewers in the internet age, like the New York Times’ Sam Sifton.
Just before opening, Erace gave us a sneak peek of some of the products Green Aisle will sell. View the photo gallery to see what’s in store for the store, including hummus from Zahav, barbecue sauce from Pub & Kitchen and Anson Mills’ grits and polenta.
The Erace brothers are still working on the official hours, but expect to be open until roughly 8 p.m. nightly; the store opens today at 12:30 p.m. and if you’re one of the first 50 customers to spend $20 or more, you’ll get a free Green Aisle tote.
Green Aisle Grocery, 1618 East Passyunk Ave.