Ready for the big bacon cutting ceremony on Wednesday when Lucky’s Market opens in Oakland Park?
I am. Just like many other Broward eastsiders.
The store at 1033 E. Oakland Park Blvd. will be the affordable organic grocery chain’s third South Florida location. Other stores are in Coral Springs and Plantation.
The 10 a.m. grand opening ceremony includes cutting of a 10-pound slab of bacon with a ninja knife, samples galore and live music. Lucky’s also will donate more than $10,000 to the nonprofit The Humanity Project anti-bullying program, PACE Center for Girls and the Broward Partnership for the Homeless.
I popped into to see how things were coming along at the store on Friday (it doesn’t look ready from the outside), and an army of workers were busy stocking shelves and putting the finishing touches on renovations of the long-empty Pearl Art & Craft building. Heavy equipment was rolling through the muddy parking lot, too.
Store director Jason Rief says Lucky’s will be open, rain or shine.
"Customers can expect to sample a lot of our specialty foods such as the in-house smoked bacon, smoked turkey breast and juices. There will also be live demos,” says Rief, of Coconut Creek. “We are going to have great deals on produce and sales in the meat department and deli. And of course wine samplings.”
The Colorado-based grocer encourages customers to “sip and stroll” with beer or wine sold in the cafe (grocery carts have cup holders!) while jamming to live music. The hip concept is a cross between a brewery, a farmer's market and the winning ideas behind several popular grocery chains all packed into one 30,000-square-foot store.
"Lucky's offers a different experience for customers. It's more about eating and drinking than a shopping,” Rief says. “Stop and grab a $2 pint or $3 glass of wine and make the grocery-shopping chore a fun experience. Lucky’s is centered around flavors, quality and great prices.”
The chain joins Oakland Park’s thriving culinary arts district on Dixie Highway north of Oakland Park Boulevard, which includes the Funky Buddha Brewery. The brewhouse specialties just happen to be on tap in Lucky’s cafe. Cold-pressed nitro brew coffee is for sale, too.
Lucky’s smokes its own meats and makes fresh sausages. There’s a pizzeria, fresh juice, ramen and sushi bars, and a large chef’s case filled with prepared foods. That should make for affordable meals to grab and go on busy weeknights.
Since it’s hatch chili season, many recipes feature the smokey-not-hot pepper, Rief says. Items to try include the homemade Hatch Chili Chicken Salad and Hatch Chili Smoked Chicken Sausage.
Customers can ask to try anything in the deli case or on the extensive prepared food bars, Rief says. Be on the lookout for "Lucky Finds," which are some of the store’s best sellers offered at special savings. The smoked turkey breast will be $6.99 a pound, a $3 savings.
The apothecary is reminiscent of Whole Foods, selling teas, salves, tinctures and healing elixirs, aromatherapy oils, candles, soaps and other organic personal care items.
If you don’t make it to Wednesday’s grand opening, stop by the Taste of Lucky's event from 11 to 3 p.m. on Sept. 2. There will be live music, food samples and gift-basket giveaways.
"We're excited for residents to shop at a great grocery store with great prices,” Rief says. “It's been eight months in the making.”
New dollar-store concept
There’s a new value retailer in town that is putting a twist on the dollar-store concept.
Five Below sells everything for $1 to $5. It recently opened it’s 11th South Florida location at 997 E. Commercial Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. New stores have seemingly popped up overnight in various cities in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. The chain is rapidly expanding.
The Philadelphia-based retailer offers a broad range of trendy merchandise, mostly aimed at teens and pre-teens. The timing is perfect for back-to-school necessities. Stores are stuffed with backpacks, clothes, makeup, tech accessories (phone cases and chargers, bluetooth keyboards), sports equipment, toys, pillows, blankets, crafts and candy (of course).
There’s something for everyone, not just the young’uns. It’s an economical option for birthday gifts for kids.
The merchandise isn’t just cheap junk. Five Below stocks name brands such as Spalding, Wet n Wild, EOS, Melissa & Doug, Crayola, Lego and licensed character merchandise from Disney and Marvel.
For more information, go to www.fivebelow.com.