Cosentino's Market comes to Kansas City Power & Light District
The long wait for a downtown grocery is nearly over.
On Friday, employees of the new Cosentino’s Market Downtown were busy packing shelves with some of the 45,000 different items the store will
offer when it opens at 8 a.m. Tuesday in the Kansas City Power & Light District.
But passers-by couldn’t resist peeking in the floor-to-ceiling windows at 10 E. 13th St. to see what awaits them.
Typically they broke into big smiles.
The new 33,000-square-foot urban store is nearly evenly divided between a traditional grocery — with departments such as meat, seafood, produce, bakery, liquor and floral — and a prepared foods area featuring an 83-foot-long salad/soup/olive bar, sushi bar, stone hearth pizza oven, sandwich station and hot pasta bar.
“This is a big moment for downtown — a first class, very urban-oriented grocery store,” said Michael Hurd, spokesman for the Downtown Council, an advocate for the area.
“For the last several years, the council has been doing research, and every year the No. 1 amenity downtown residents and downtown employees ask for is a grocery. It’s been the missing piece for a long time and a big step for the ongoing revitalization of downtown.”
The Cosentino family has been in the grocery business since 1948, when patriarch Dante Cosentino Sr. purchased a fruit stand on Blue Ridge Boulevard. Today the family, now in its third generation, owns 24 stores throughout the metro area, mostly under the Price Chopper banner but also Apple Market, Sun Fresh and Cosentino’s Market Brookside. The stores have more than 3,200 employees.
The Cosentinos spent more than three years planning the new downtown location so it would appeal to a broad mix — 21,000 area residents and 100,000 workers, along with tourists, who have relied on convenience and drug stores for their grocery needs or driven several miles to supermarkets in outlying areas. The Cosentinos also hope downtown office workers who live in the suburbs will stop to shop on their way home.
“We want to be the neighborhood market, but also meet everyone’s needs,” said Casie Broker, spokeswoman for Cosentino’s Food Stores in
Kansas City. “So we’ll have something for people who work, play or live down here. They can grab lunch on the way to the office or grab food on the way home.”
Cosentino’s Downtown Market features an upscale decor with 20-foot ceilings, shiny wood floors, unique lighting and display fixtures, and colorful murals on the liquor department ceiling as well as the stairway leading to the mezzanine dining area. The murals are in homage to Dante Cosentino Sr., who also was an artist for downtown’s Our Lady of Sorrows and other churches.
Among the 136 employees are four new chefs who have created menu items such as potato zucchini cakes and cappuccino mousse. Mark Lenz, former store director at the Cosentino’s Brookside store, has relocated to the downtown store.
While 127 covered parking spaces are available at the north entrance — with free validation at checkout — some customers will be walking.
Matthew Staub, president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association and owner of a River Market condo, has had to rely on a variety of downtown options to meet his grocery needs with an occasional trip outside the area for non-perishable items.
“Needless to say this is huge — the one-stop shop. And I work downtown, so I’m looking forward to the salad bar,” Staub said.
“The grocery is a symbolic step for residential living downtown more than anything else. It’s been a thing that people have cited as a missing element in moving downtown.”