Crescent City has a new healthy lunch option. The Wild Rivers Market, a natural foods market, just opened a deli, an endeavor that has been on their radar since 2013.
The Wild Rivers Market has been serving organic, natural and local foods to Crescent City residents since 1986. The owners of Eureka Natural Foods took over an old health food store and transformed it into Harvest Natural foods. In 2013, they renamed it the Wild Rivers Market.
Since its humble beginnings as a small scale market, it now offers all the amenities of a grocery store, but with the personal touch of a small-town shop. Now added to its services is a full-service deli intended to offer a 10 minute or less health food lunch option.
“Definitely filled a void in Crescent City that’s been there for a good lunch spot, sandwiches, and really quality ingredients, organic products,” said manager Tom Boylan.
Boyland and the owner, Rick Littlefield, have long wanted the market to expand with a deli, like its two sister markets, the Eureka Natural Foods in Eureka and McKinleyville, but they lacked the space.
So when the building next to them became available, they quickly claimed the property and went to work transforming it into an eatery. For nine months, construction workers created a kitchen area, brought in a salad bar station, new coolers and a service counter.
“This building has been a lot of different things, and to see what has become of it with our projects has just been really awesome,” Boylan said. “So really, it’s revitalizing a part of Crescent City that’s needed it for quite some time.”
Littlefield and Boylan were too excited to wait until everything was ready, so they held their soft opening on Feb. 17 while they waited for the salad and soup bar to be ready.
“It’s been packed. It’s been really busy. People have been really excited to have it, and we’ve been really excited to have all the new faces in here,” Boylan said. “And then all of our existing customers are just ecstatic.”
Once everything is in operation, customers will have options galore – soups, paninis, sandwiches, fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, local coffee and baked goods and a make-your-own salad. As much as possible, they try to make all their products with local food from vendors such as the Alexandre Family Farm, Ocean Air Farms and Rumiano Cheese.
The Wild Rivers Market’s whole approach is alternative. They sell alternative, health foods. They run a modern food market with an alternative, personal mindset, and now they are offering an alternative to fast food.
“We’re going to throw down the fast-food challenge,” Littlefield said. “Ten minutes or less, you can walk in, get a sandwich and soup, a salad, a beverage, a dessert, and you can be out of here. All natural, mostly organic, and that’s going to be our challenge to ourselves.”
Not only will the food come out quickly, but the customer will also get a friendly, personal interaction.
“Most places are moving toward an automated society, and it’s a lost thing, you know when you can go into a store and people know your name… We know so many people and so many people’s names and what they like,” Boylan said. “I’m really proud of that, and when you make people happy that way, it’s just awesome.”
“We want to know who our customers are. We want to talk to them,” Littlefield added. “(Tom) has developed a culture here that’s just welcome and community.”