Pusateri’s Fine Foods has opened its second ‘Saks Food Hall’, on the concourse level of Saks Fifth Avenue’s Canadian flagship in downtown Toronto. The new grocery store, strategically located along the city’s busy PATH system, has seen considerable and consistent crowds since its opening on Thursday morning.
The 24,000 square foot GH+A designed space follows the March opening of an 18,500 square foot Pusateri’s Saks Food Hall as CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto’s West End. The new downtown store sees a different type of shopper — while the Sherway store is in a suburban mall surrounded by parking, the new CF Toronto Eaton Centre Saks Food Hall is geared towards commuters, tourists and locals, with plenty of prepared meals to complement staple grocery items.
Toronto’s underground pedestrian PATH system links downtown office towers with hotels and retail, and is considered to be the world’s longest underground shopping network. It boasts over 30 kilometres of connected walkways and over 4-million square feet of retail space, rivalling West Edmonton Mall in size. The PATH network is also extremely busy on weekdays with over 200,000 people passing through its halls and its estimated 1,200 stores.
The new Saks Food Hall opens directly onto the busy PATH under CF Toronto Eaton Centre’s Hudson’s Bay building, featuring access points from the TTC Queen subway station, CF Toronto Eaton Centre, as well as adjacent buildings and parking structures. Over 50,000 people pass by the new store daily, resulting in a busy, yet luxurious shopping experience.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all part of the experience. The store features morning coffee and pastries at its PATH-facing corner space, with healthy lunch-on-the-go as well as prepared meals for restaurant-quality dinners. It also features a variety of grocery items, from milk to bread to meats and cheeses. The entire experience is unlike a typical grocery store though — marble flooring, rich wood and luxurious fixtures abound, with upscale products carried in a wide variety of price ranges.
Saks Food Hall joins the multi-level 11,000 square foot Oliver & Bonacini-operated restaurant Leña, which opened at Saks in August of this year. Both food experiences are expected to further drive pedestrian traffic into the adjacent Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay stores. Given that people generally consume food more frequently than fashion, adding food and beverage is a strategic move for retailers looking to gain pedestrian footfall and, hopefully, increased sales.
The store features a number of departments and features, to be described below along with store photos.
Champagne Bar: The new bar features best-in-class Champagne, fine wine and local beer assortments, all paired with a fresh raw bar and a market menu curated by Pusateri’s corporate chef, Tony Cammalleri. The Champagne Bar has its own corner space in the store, also accessed from the PATH entrance leading into the 2 Queen Street East office tower.
Sushi Bar: The store’s sushi bar features take-away or eat-in options, with made-to-order cuts of fresh fish, vegetables and toppings, hand-rolled by expert sushi chefs.
The Chopped Bar: The a-la-carte salad bar includes fresh greens, gourmet cheese and meats, as well as dressings. In the morning there’s a make-your-own yogurt parfait counter, where artisanal granolas can be paired with local yogurts and fruit.
Rosticceria: Traditional rotisserie dishes are given a "luxe flair”, according to Pusateri’s, with carved meats and a rotating menu of gourmet street foods and sides.
BENE, A Pusateri’s Pizzeria: Roman-style pizza served al taglio (by the slice) featuring crust made with Le 5 Stagioni flour that comes from a 150 year old Italian mill, sauces made from certified DOP San Marzano Tomatoes, and Canadian Fior Di Latte cheese. The new BENE faces directly onto the busy PATH, with crowds stopping to examine and purchase the delicious smelling pizza.
Sorelle and Co.: The shop-in-store is a second for the company (following a location in Vaughn), featuring gluten-free, soy-free, sesame-free, vegan, nut-free, and preservative-free food items ranging from breads to sweets.
Pusateri’s Café: Facing onto the busy PATH, the new coffee counter also includes fresh breakfast pastry -- a European start to the day, according to the retailer.
Daits: The fresh counter serves Saudi Arabian dates, in an environment not unlike how one might purchase chocolates. Facing directly onto the PATH, Daits appeared to be constantly ringing up sales during the multiple times that we passed by the space.
Below are more photos of the beautiful store, which is worth checking out if you find yourself hungry while in downtown Toronto.