The name Market on Main conjures thoughts of a retail space to sell groceries, but the forthcoming space at 1320 Main St. is much more than a place to grab eggs and a six pack. The ambitious business will bring a combination all-day restaurant, small marketplace, bar, event space and outdoor dining to the area when it opens later this year. Originally slated to only be in the space occupied by the recently torn-down House of Fabrics building, the plan has now expanded to include the space vacated by Zoës Kitchen in the adjacent Meridian Building.
Co-founder Josh Willoughby and executive chef Howard Stephens (currently of Sapori in Lexington) are bringing the new project to life.
“We will have elements of a market but weren’t sure if Main Street had the living population for a full-service grocery store yet,” Willoughby says. “We wanted to provide other elements like the bar and outdoor venue that will help us expand into the night and weekend crowds.”
The interior space will feature a menu for all times of day, from breakfast to dinner. Breakfast will feature items like a breakfast bowl to more grab-and-go items like espressos, pastries and fresh juices.
“Lunch and dinner will be well-thought-out sandwiches and salads using eclectic ingredients,” Stephens offers. “I want to use Latin American, European, Middle Eastern influences and flavors and incorporate them in ways people are familiar with.”
The market space will feature such items as boutique wines and Italian snacks that aren’t prevalent here — stuff you can’t even get at Whole Foods, Stephens brags.
“I like to say it’s a high-end bodega with no lottery tickets, cigarettes or energy drinks,” he says.
Outdoors is where the truly notable and interactive spaces will be, Willoughby and Stephens reveal, including an outdoor kitchen, a raised stage for live music, a 20-foot-wide LED screen for movies and sporting events, plus an 18-tap self-pour beer wall.
“It’s not just going to be a patio, it’s going to be an attraction,” Stephens says.
They anticipate opening the interior space at the Market on Main in mid-November, with the outdoor space being ready shortly thereafter, in time for the Carolina-Clemson game on Nov. 30, Willoughby hopes. Once fully operational, they plan to have the Market open Monday through Saturday.