Specialty Food Magazine

MAY-JUN 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 69 of 103

vnsourmtrk Caviar & Bananas C aviar & Bananas, located in downtown Charleston, S.C., may take its aesthetic cues from New York City's elite specialty food markets with its sleek, sophisticated space, but its wide-ranging, hard-to-find product mix—from, well, caviar to bananas—and made-from-scratch offerings put this market in a class by itself. History…When husband-and-wife team Kris and Margaret Furniss decided to put New York City behind them, they headed to historic downtown Charleston, S.C., to implement a market-and- café concept for the small but bustling foodie town. No strangers to the area or the specialty food world—Margaret completed her undergraduate degree at the College of Charleston, and Kris spent four years as the general manager of a Dean & Deluca in New York—in 2008 they opened Caviar & Bananas, a gourmet market and café located in the downtown shopping district. "At the time—to our surprise—there was nothing in the area that offered high-end, hard-to-find items and fresh-made on-site food," says Kris. "We thought it would be the perfect fit." They were right. Caviar & Bananas was well received for its eclectic delights that had a local bent. "Customers were grateful that they now did not have to drive out of the way to get items like Prosciutto di Parma, Serrano ham or regional specialties like Tate's Cookies or Jeni's Ice Cream," says Margaret. With its exposed ceilings, white subway tile, glass display cases, Carrara marble countertops, steel shelving and an open kitchen, Caviar & Bananas adds Southern hospitality to its stimulating big- city makeup. "We are more than just a food museum," Kris declares. "You can dine in, design your own salad to take out or even learn how to roll your own sushi." Points of Distinction…Part restaurant, part retail, Caviar & Bananas features an in-house sushi bar, espresso bar with custom- roasted coffee from Counter Culture in Durham, N.C., and organic teas that are steeped to order. The prepared foods department show- cases dishes with local and global influences. "We take pride in serving quality food," Margaret says. "We make our own mayonnaise for our made-to-order sandwiches, con- fit our own duck, pull our own mozzarella and use real crab in our California rolls." Caviar & Bananas' selection of packaged goods ranges from high-end olive oils and tomato sauces, to more elusive items such as buckwheat honey, pâté and charcuterie. Local stand- out specialties, including Callie's Charleston Biscuits and Sweeteeth Chocolates, also line shelves. A boutique wine selection showcases 75 bottles ranging from mid-range to higher-end prices. "We wanted our wine area to be special with harder-to-find varieties but still wanted to keep the price line approachable," she notes. The couple takes pride in the market's growing gift-basket operation. "Our cus- tom gift baskets are a great opportunity for people to be introduced to some of our unique products," Kris adds. How It Keeps Innovating…Last year, Caviar & Bananas' second storefront opened in downtown Charleston's newly reno- vated City Market. A small outpost of the flagship store, it offers a convenient deli counter and a small selection of specialty items such as granola and chocolate bars. "The City Market is one of the busiest tourists areas in Charleston," Margaret says. "When we were approached by the city to do a possible outpost location, it was a perfect fit—the foot traffic was already built in." The Furnisses hope to add another outpost by next year and add a wine bar to their flagship store. "Our intention was never to just be a mom-and-pop operation," Kris remarks. "We always had intentions to grow. The next step would be to take our concept regional."—N.D. Year Opened: 2008 Type of Business: Gourmet market/café Outstanding Features: Sushi bar; all prepared foods made on-site Contact: caviarandbananas.com Margaret Furniss MAY/JUNE 2012 63

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