Metro Market – 5 years later
In the summer of 2004, Milwaukee east siders were relieved to see that the dull, old Sentry supermarket that once anchored the small shopping plaza on the corner of Van Buren and Juneau had finally been replaced. The Metro Market was launched as a social experiment of sorts by Roundy’s Supermarkets as a new, upscale type of Pick ‘n Save store. Back then, Roundy’s touted the Metro Market as a “new-concept” grocery store, anticipated to rival well-known staples in the community like Sendik’s and Grasch Foods.
Making its debut with a wide assortment of imported and hard-to-find items as well as everyday American brands, Metro Market joined the ranks of the select few Milwaukee area markets that carry certain niche foods. On the shelves you could find things like Café du Monde brand coffee and chicory from New Orleans, Twinings tea in cans, fresh okra, Bachelor’s brand mushy peas from Ireland, Knorr boxed spätzle noodles imported from Germany and plenty of other products that set top-of-the-line grocers apart from others in the metro area.
Fast-forward about five-and-a-half years to February 2010, and Metro Market finds its shelves almost completely reorganized as many brands have been discontinued, leaving regular shoppers slightly confused. One has to wonder if this was perhaps a strategic maneuver to hide what had become obvious to customers only a year out of the gate: slowly but surely, Metro Market’s management has been thinning out those specialty items from its shelves and replacing them with goods that can be found at any other Pick ‘n Save store.
Surviving are the unique services Metro Market has become known for, like its cozy café with fireplace and big plasma TV, a juice bar, a catering service, the superlative dessert and meat departments and a pretty comprehensive cheese selection (though not quite as extensive as Whole Foods). Fresh produce can be hit or miss these days, depending on what you’re looking for. But what is in its large produce section is always fresh and of the highest quality.
Though not quite what it was when it first opened, Metro Market is still a favorite for east siders with a wide variety of products and services that sure beat what was in that location before.
1123 North Van Buren St., Milwaukee