Pitchfork Market + Kitchen was born out of an idea of creating a more wholesome and inspiring food shopping experience for people in Saskatoon.
After opening its first location in The Meadows neighbourhood in southeast Saskatoon, the company is expanding to a downtown location at the Midtown shopping centre – with plans to eventually expand the brand throughout Western Canada.
“Pitchfork is a combination grocery store and restaurant,” said Chris Brychun, Director of Retail Operations. “With that, our grocery side of the business has a full selection that your traditional grocery store would have in a smaller, more intimate, community size store and we also lean pretty heavily into local content. We have local content represented in almost every category in the store as well.
“And the restaurant part of the business, the kitchen part, we have chefs on staff that work with us and they create all of the products that are made in store. All the prepared meal products that are sold in stores is done by them. Essentially anything that would need to be prepared in any way. It’s got that actual flavour to it. It’s not taken out of a box and put on display. It’s actually created in the building and our restaurant also offers sit-down service. There’s 45 seats in our original location plus a patio for the summer months. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner menus available. All of this is also available for delivery.”
The first location opened in June 2021 in about 7,500 square feet.
The Midtown location is expected to open near the end of this year or the first quarter of 2023. Square footage is between 15,000 and 18,000.
“It will be essentially the look, feel and representation of our current store with obviously some changes. Our restaurant is going to be about twice the size. It’s going to be more of a true restaurant experience versus the cafe comparison that we use in the Meadows. Obviously with the square footage being significantly larger, we’re also going to have a larger representation of all of the grocery products and expanded assortment in that location,” said Brychun.
“We also are planning a show and production kitchen. The show kitchen will service the actual restaurant. The production kitchen we are designing to be able to produce centrally in the city for up to three or four locations. Then we can actually centralize some of our production. Make it a little bit more efficient and make sure that it is a bit of a standard offering across locations that we open.”
Brychun said the downtown core is an interesting one in the city and the goal as a business is to fill a niche market.
“Downtown has had grocery stores in the past but over time, it’s been over two decades since there’s been a functional grocery store in the downtown,” he said. “We thought it was a prime opportunity to fill a distinct need for residents of the downtown core, the massive population of people that work in the downtown core, who enter and leave that area on a daily basis, but also its proximity to the inner city.”
In the future, Brychun said the company believes grocery stores are a pivotal part of community building. It’s looking at opening three or four locations in Saskatoon but the grand vision is to create a new chain to go across Western Canada.
Tara Faris, General Manager, Midtown, said Pitchfork will be accessible from both an exterior entrance, as well as from within the mall.
“The exterior entrance will be accessed from the West Parking Lot off Idylwyld Drive and Auditorium Avenue and the interior entrance will be in the southwest corridor, adjacent to Boathouse, Coles Bookstore and Tim Horton’s,” she said.
“In looking at potential options for the development of the space, our focus was on securing an anchor that would drive foot traffic to the mall and increase repeat visitation to benefit all retailers and service providers.
“The addition of a full-service grocery store downtown fills a decades-old gap in the amenities available for those that live and work downtown.”