The longtime Rockford favorite is growing this year, as it opens a new location and expands upon its cafe-style menu. That’s not all that has locals excited.
Long before “farm-to-table” became a buzz term in the restaurant industry, Mary’s Market of Rockford believed freshness and quality didn’t have to be sacrificed for speed and affordability.
That idea led to the opening of the first café and bakery on East State Street in 1982. Since then, with the addition of two more locations, the business has become one of Rockford’s tried and true staples as a special place to meet, celebrate a special event, or cater for a wedding.
This summer, Mary’s Market will roll out some changes on its menu and add a new location at 4866 Bluestem Road, Roscoe, Ill., in the former location of Vito’s Ristorante. It’s expected to open in late June.
“We were looking to open a location in the Roscoe area to expand our products and catering services toward the southern Wisconsin region and state line area,” says Kayla Zeimet, executive chef.
In addition to a new location, other changes will be ushered in later this summer.
New menu items will include vegan and gluten-free choices. All locations will offer the same menu and style of service – where people walk up to the cashier to pay for an order for carryout or to be delivered to their table. While waiting, diners can help themselves to coffee, tea or fountain drinks. A large menu board in back of the cashier, as well as handheld menus, will help people in making their selections.
“The new menu board at the East State location will help people get used to the transition,” Zeimet says. “Our system works great at Perryville and Edgebrook and we want consistency in all our locations and want all our stores to look and operate the same way.”
All locations serve wine and beer and the Roscoe location will offer full bar service, outdoor seating, live music and table service after 5 p.m. Popular items will remain on the menu.
“We are not only adding new items, but we are in the process of creating a new modern look to our menu with updated pictures to get guests more knowledgeable about our made-from-scratch processes,” Zeimet says.
Among the vegan and vegetarian options will be a vegan quiche made from tofu and seasoned with sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus and vegan mozzarella, on an oil-only (no butter) flaky crust.
An Asian crunch salad will be made with carrots, cucumbers, shredded cabbage, edamame, mandarin oranges, Quinoa, and a baby kale and spinach mix and served with a with sesame ginger salad dressing.
A chicken pot pie will begin with a thick and creamy chicken soup with carrots, peas, potatoes and topped with a puffed pastry.
The much-loved roasted beet salad will become an entrée as well as a side dish, made with roasted beets, goat cheese, artichokes, red onion and a citrus vinaigrette dressing.
Creativity is a hallmark of Mary’s Market and the menu will give customers an opportunity to create their own flatbreads and omelets with a choice of ingredients for one price. A taco section will feature five options, adding honey chipotle chicken; blackened shrimp; and State Street steak tacos made with seared beef, onion, cilantro, Queso Fresco and lime. All tacos can be served on a crunchy corn or soft flour tortilla.
“Our goal is keep our customers happy, while drawing attention to what’s new so we can attract even more people,” Zeimet says. “We really care about what we serve our customers, making fresh bread daily and everything is made from scratch.”
A Hononegah High School graduate, Zeimet’s interest in food was sparked when working as a prep cook as a teenager. Enjoying the business of making people happy and creating great combinations of food and flavors, she decided to enroll in Robert Morris University in Aurora, where she later graduated with a degree in culinary arts. She has been with Mary’s Market since October.
Mary’s Market currently has three locations at 4431 East State St.; at 1659 N. Alpine Road, in Edgebrook; and 2636 McFarland Road.