A Grass Valley specialty foods shop is doing something few others do: keeping it casual.
The Back Porch Market co-owners Debra Hynson and Bryan Frost seek to make customers’ visits to their shop a fun and informal experience.
“We use special ingredients but there’s an unfussiness about preparation,” Frost said. “It’s direct.”
Despite the store’s tiny size, it is packed with gourmet goodies, which has more than a few patrons calling it “Foodie Heaven.”
Among the sublime offerings include the usual specialty food store fare. Pantry staples like condiments, vinegars, olive oil, hand-picked wines, jams and gourmet snacks line a few shelves.
Where Back Porch really stands out is their ready-made frozen food, such as their popular raviolis, which come with fillings like cheese, beef, butternut squash, and porcini and shiitake mushrooms. Frozen raviolis, gnocchi and soups Tsold at Back Porch are also made in house, in a kitchen in full view of any customer visiting the shop.
“It’s like hanging out in someone’s kitchen, because you are,” Frost said. “It lends a mood, where people are free to come in, hang out and just have conversations about food, and the plans they have for it.”
Despite never setting out to be a sandwich shop, Hynson said that Back Porch reconsidered their stance due to customer demand. Still, sandwich making is done on their terms.
“We make them depending on our whims, and it’s different everyday,” Hynson said. Back Porch offers two sandwiches: one meat offering (such as turkey breast with Asiago cheese, spinach, tomato and artichoke heart aioli), and one vegetarian (such as roasted eggplant with zucchini, crisp onion and walnut-lemon-parsley pesto cream cheese). Just about everything about these popular sandwiches is in a state of flux.
“We could make 20, 30, 40. It varies on the season,” Hynson said. “They come out at 10:30 a.m. and once they’re gone, they’re gone.”
Back Porch’s deli counter has charcuterie offerings like prosciutto and salami, and enough artisan cheeses to please the pickiest turophile. And because cities in Europe have flourished from foodie tourism, from Lyon to Friuli, customers with serious “foodie fixes” typically leave Back Porch pleased.
“They travel to places in Europe and they come back with their eyes open,” Hynson said. “We try and help match the experience they had.”
The market, which only has four employees, prides itself in its size and approach to specialty food.
“We’re a small mom and pop shop,” Hynson said. “But if you come in, you’ll find things you won’t find anywhere else.”
The Back Porch Market
135 Colfax Ave. Grass Valley CA
Open 10:00 a.m.-7 p.m.
Tue – Sat