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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Pusateri’s John Mastroianni previews what’s in store at the new Saks Food Hall at Sherway Gardens

Friday, March 04, 2016


By Sally Praskey

The stage is set for the March 7, 2016 grand opening of the first-ever Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s, at Toronto’s Sherway Gardens mall.

The 18,500-sq.-ft. location, situated within the Saks store, will feature restaurant-style seating so shoppers can enjoy their food in-store, or take it home.

And more growth is on the horizon: Pusateri’s will be opening another Food Hall at Saks’ new flagship location on Toronto’s Queen Street in the spring, as well as a store with restaurant-style seating and a direct entrance from the parking lot at Oakville Place mall. (Oakville, Ont., is just west of Toronto.)

“We think our partnership with Saks is a great addition to the city because we’re showing how two great brands can work together on a project that hopefully will open up the gates for others to do the same in the future,” says John Mastroianni, Pusateri's general manager. “It was a great way to get people to come together and talk about fashion and food.”

In an exclusive interview with Grocery Business, Mastroianni discussed what customers can look forward to in these new-concept stores.


What is the mix of prepared foods to grocery products?
It's around a 70/30 split – 70 per cent fresh and 30 per cent on grocery. Our focus is heavy on fresh and prepared foods because that’s what time-pressed consumers are looking for.


Once people purchase their prepared meals, will they be able to "dine-in"?
Yes, we will have restaurant-style seating so customers can actually enjoy a meal and get together with friends to make it more than just a shopping experience; the store truly becomes a place to meet people.


Will there be a butcher, deli counter, fishmonger?
Absolutely. We will have all those services available. Our focus is always about giving the consumer the choice to have something ready-made where they can eat in or takeout. But they can also get a great steak for grilling at home.


Will it be the same breadth of products that are offered at your other locations?
Actually, the Sherway store will be more of a hybrid. I would say it’ll be like the offering of our North Toronto store, but with a heavier focus on natural and organic offerings. The location itself is approximately 18,500 sq. ft. It’s a full-line store.


What are some of the store's unique features?
We’re going to have a prosciutto bar at the Sherway Garden location, which is going to be very different and very exciting. It will have locally inspired prosciuttos coming from the Niagara region. It will also be full service – there’s nothing else like this out there. There's also a champagne and raw bar.

And there will be even more offerings at our new Toronto Queen Street Saks location when it opens in a few months.


Will there be similar offerings at the new Oakville Place store?
The Oakville store is scheduled to open in the spring and it will also have restaurant-style seating. Plus, the store has its own separate entrance from the parking lot so customers can come in whether the mall is open or not.


You’re rebuilding the North Toronto store, which suffered fire damage last summer. When will it re-open
Late spring is our target date. It’s under construction as we speak.


What will customers enjoy most the most about your new stores?
The shopping experience itself because shopping for food doesn't need to be a chore. We will offer a high-level of service and a sense of entertainment. And it will be social, "Come on in and enjoy a charcuterie board and a glass of wine!"

 

Raising the Bar: What's in Store

Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's hosts 10 unique culinary stations, mixing proprietary offerings with some of Toronto’s favourite local gourmet vendors.


Champagne and Raw Bar: With top-shelf champagne, artisanal red and white wines, and craft beer alongside cheese and charcuterie platters, seafood towers and rotating tapas menus by Pusateri's corporate chef Tony Cammalleri.


Pusateri’s Sushi Bar: An eclectic mix of exclusive high-end sushi creations made to match the luxe ambiance of the Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s.


Pusateri’s Cafe: Exclusive coffee blends roasted just for Pusateri’s, loose-leaf teas, and freshly baked goods.


La Cucina: Full-service hot food counter with innovative and trendsetting recipes developed by the Pusateri’s Kitchen Team.


Pingue Prosciutto Bar: Showcasing a collection of local charcuterie by Pingue Prosciutto, sliced fresh for eat-in or take-away.


Pusateri’s Signature Spatchcock Rotisserie: Using a state-of-the-art rotisserie procured in France, Pusateri’s will offer internationally inspired dishes featuring naturally raised, grass-fed Ontario chickens.


Greenhouse Juice: Raw, 100 per cent organic, cold-pressed juices, superfood smoothies, probiotic tonics, and plant-based snacks that taste as great as they make you feel, from Canada's leading cold-pressed juice company.


Nutella Café by Pusateri’s: An exclusive assortment of fresh, handmade crepes and unique delicacies featuring Nutella, all specially crafted by the Pusateri’s Kitchen Team.


Pusateri’s Own Prepared Foods: Featuring a wide variety of grab-and-go single and family-sized offerings, as well as a breadth of premium proteins, creatively prepared daily by Pusateri’s Kitchen Team.


Catering: Renowned catering services featuring à la carte, corporate, holiday, private, event and kid-friendly menus.


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