Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

Grocery shopping ranks high at the top of my personal list of “Things About Being an Adult That Are Decidedly Not Fun.” Everything about this weekly chore feels like pure drudgery: the meal planning, the making of the grocery list, the shopping itself, the lugging of the bags back into the house, and unpacking it all. It’s a necessity of life, but one that brings me little to no joy.

So you can imagine my delight, my unmitigated glee, when word began to spread around Saratoga about Chef Adam Foti’s new brick and mortar grocery store, PDT Market. As each sneak peek was posted to the store’s Instagram account, community interest and anticipation mounted. Was that a floral mural on the wall? Is that a glass case of tempting baked goods? Excuse me, but…could that be…a bar?

It was! It is! This is not your traditional, industrial, transactional grocery store space. PDT Market is an experience, and an invitation. 

“Opening a space like this, I’m trying to offer people a place to gather,” says Foti. “It’s a relaxed environment, no reservations needed. I see people meeting their friends, working at our tables, or stopping to have a quiet minute to themselves and enjoy a bite or a drink.”

“It’s a specialty grocery store,” he says. “It should feel special.”

And indeed it does.The first time I set foot in Foti’s 20,000 square feet of aspirational market/bar/eating space, I had one thought: “Finally, the perfect place to cosplay Diane Keaton in a Nancy Meyers movie.”

If the name Nancy Meyers doesn’t immediately ring a bell, I can assure you, you’re more than likely familiar with her oeuvre. She’s the celebrated filmmaker behind such movie classics as “Baby Boom,” the “Father of the Bride” films, “Something’s Gotta Give”,”The Holiday”, and “It’s Complicated.” Her canon of romantic comedies tend to feature slightly zany (but always chic and loveable) heroines, tender depictions of romance, and absolutely drop-dead gorgeous aesthetics. The homes, the clothing, and importantly, the food in a Nancy Meyers’ film are all so artfully curated, such a perfectly balanced mix of coziness and luxury, that the writer/director often bristles at the attention her audience and critics pay to them. They tend to steal the show.

Meryl Streep or Diane Keaton, swathed in a linen shirt and carrying a straw tote, shopping for unfussy, but top-shelf ingredients to put on the perfect dinner party, would definitely be right at home in PDT Market, where every design detail and product choice feels specifically chosen to charm and inspire.

But just as a Nancy Meyers flick is about more than pretty clothes, picturesque homes, and flawless tablescapes, PDT Market is about more than lovely lighting, ambient music, and artful towers of candles on rustic display tables.

“You’re coming here for a different reason than you would another grocery store,” Foti notes. “You’re here to take your time, and not rush.”

Not rush? How positively indulgent. 

The public seemed to immediately respond to that indulgence, and others available at PDT Market. When the store opened at the end of March, Foti said demand and feedback required them to take a beat and refocus, closing the market for three days following the first week. 

“Our first week was amazing. We outperformed our projection by two times what was expected. This meant we were quickly low on inventory. In addition, by the end of our first week, we realized we didn’t have enough staff to service customers and stock the store. We received great feedback from customers about pricing and product assortment and quality. We listened to other feedback and immediately changed a number of operations while staying aligned with our quality, produce department concerns for example. 

“We took three days to address these concerns to better meet our customers needs/desires, hire more staff and adjust some things. It was a positive experience and we’re excited to move forward.”

Foti is an established presence on the local food scene. His successful catering business, PDT Catering, has been serving the region for over 12 years. Foti’s food background (he grew up in the restaurant business, graduated from culinary school, and is an adjunct instructor for a variety of cooking classes at SUNY Schenectady) is also paired with a previous career in retail, where sourcing and trend-spotting trips for brands like GUESS, Ralph Lauren, and Gap often saw him traveling the world, and honing his own aesthetic eye.

Both of Foti’s skill sets are on full display at PDT Market, where the bar is designed to resemble a favorite Parisian spot he shares with his husband, and some of the hard-to-find ingredients on the shelves harken back to treasured food memories from trips to Italy and England.

“For better or for worse, every single thing in this space has been hand-curated by me,” he says. 

He hopes that his space and the food on offer will be inspirational, as well as aspirational.

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By admin