By Devon Johnson
Upscale Toronto-based grocery retailer Pusateri's Fine Foods reopened its flagship store last Friday, located at 1539 Avenue Road in Toronto. The 15,000 square foot store, designed by Montreal-based GH+A, brings Pusateri's original store up-to-par with its new locations across the Greater Toronto Region.
The reopening follows a devastating fire that closed the store in August of last year. The team at Pusateri's worked hard over the past several months to bring the store back to life, as the company has been eager to reopen its doors to its loyal clientele.
An excited crowd of over 100 people stood outside the store the morning of the opening. The first 500 guests in line were treated to a Pusateri gift bag, containing Pusateri branded t-shirts, and an assortment of grocery offerings including coconut water, yogurt-covered pretzels, and biscotti.
The Pusateri family arrived for the 9am ribbon cutting, alongside a trendy and stylish Mr. and Mrs. Claus to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. As the gates open, a long line of shoppers gathered inside the store to explore the new changes to the space.
In the store, customers are greeted by a large two-storey atrium, featuring an impressive lighting addition that rises above Pusateri's Cafe. Found here are artisanal baked goods including croissants, danishes, cakes, and macarons. A variety of different coffee and espresso drinks are available to order - with the same friendly and familiar service that was here before the renovation.
The finishings at Pusateri's are top notch. White and grey patterned marble floors line the entire store, with rich wood fixtures and detailing giving the grocery store a sophisticated feel.
Just to the right of the cafe area lies the Pasticceria, where a selection of cakes and pies can be found. Fresh loaves and baguettes of bread are baked right in front of customers in Pusateri's Panifico section.
The renovated location improves on what Pusateri's flagship location had before. A new booth at Pusateri's is a live cooking area, called the Rosticceria, featuring gourmet fresh foods and rotisserie items available for purchase. This cooking area can be found inside their new food hall at Saks Fifth Avenue on Queen Street West.
This area also has an elevated array of handmade sushi offerings, hand-rolled by expert sushi chefs.
The second floor offers a view over the grab-and-go food area. On this level, customers will find Christmas merchandise (seasonal) available for purchase, as well as customer washrooms.
This floor will also house a Pusateri branded full-service Italian restaurant, set to open early next year, but was not ready in time for opening day.
Pusateri's Fine Foods is also continuing its relationship with Toronto-based Greenhouse Juice Co. The juice company has opened a shop-in-shop featuring all varieties of their cold pressed juices. Greenhouse representatives kicked off the launch with complimentary samples of their 'East of Eden' and 'Wake Up' juices to an enthusiastic crowd.
Pusateri's Avenue Road has added over 100 new products to their grocery offerings. An increased selection of local and international cheeses, bolstered deli meat offerings, and an expanded selection of breads were made possible by the added space from the renovation. The product offering aligns with their offerings at their other locations, focusing on a selection of foods not typically found at big box grocery retailers.
This location was Pusateri's first store, and has been operating for nearly 30 years. The company has since expanded to include grocery locations in Toronto's affluent Yorkville area, Toronto's Bayview Village, and at Oakville's RioCan Oakville Place. Pusateri's also operates two food halls within Saks Fifth Avenue at Toronto's CF Sherway Gardens and at CF Toronto Eaton Centre-Queen Street.