Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: Epicurean Market in Manalapan

October 13th, 2008 · 4 Comments

The Village Marketplace that closed earlier this summer in the Plaza del Mar in Manalapan is being replaced by another gourmet market: Epicurean. It is opening in stages — the prepared foods department and bakery, as well as the coffee bar, are already open for business, despite empty shelves elsewhere.

Maude Eaton, formerly with Market Salamander in Palm Beach, is co-owner and the general manager. “It’s going to be really great,” she said. “We’ll have organic produce from the local Swank Farms, as well as other organics,  some mainstream groceries and gourmet products. It’s sort of a market-within-a-market, with a wine shop, a great cheese selection, specialty items, prepared hors d’oeuvres, meats and seafoods, and then our full prepared foods cases, and huge prepared foods bar.”

Catering and event planning are available through the store, with Donna Serafin, formerly with the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, in charge. “We’re taking over a restaurant space that overlooks the water; it’s right across the courtyard from us. It will be a facility for wedding receptions, bar and bat mitzvahs, holiday and anniversary parties, luncheons — all kinds of events. We’ll cater it all from the store.” The former gym facility, with a second floor area as well as a dance floor, is undergoing complete renovation; it’s supposed to be ready for use around Thanksgiving, Serafin said. They’re booking holiday holiday parties now.

This weekend, produce is scheduled to arrive at the market; the week after, groceries, and finally, the specialty foods and wines during the first week of November — when a grand opening is planned.

There’s no sign yet, however. Owner Jacob Schlesinger said, “Why have people think we’re open?” he teased. “We’re only a little open.”

The market sports a new deep blue ceiling, and dark wood panels to divide grocery and specialty gourmet areas. It will have customer service representatives throughout the store. They’ve set up 80 seats in the courtyard, and diners already are taking advantage of the shaded setting for lunch, as several tables were filled when we toured.

Next to the bakery, filled with treats such as fruit tarts, a number of chocolate creations, individual lemon and Key lime pies, and a variety of cookies was a gelato case with flavors that will vary throughout the season.

Prepared foods, private catering and other store cooking falls under the realm of Chef Samuel Croge, of South Jersey. “I’ve worked in Philly and then in most of the major cities on the East Coast,” he said. “Now I’ve got a young family, so it’s time to settle down.”

“I’d like to do cooking classes once we get going,” Eaton said. She offered them in Market Salamander, and also is involved teaching with the Glades-to-Coast chapter of Slow Foods, now forming in the area.

‘Yeah, I guess I’m keeping very busy. But that’s good, too,” she said. “I think we’ll have a good season.”


  • 220 S. Ocean Ave., Manalapan
  • (561) 582-5151; epicureangourmet.com
  • Hours: 7 a.m. -7p.m. Monday-Sunday


John Reis is no longer the owner/manager/pizza maker at Fire Rock Pizza in downtown West Palm Beach. “He’s gone back to New York with his family. He wasn’t getting any time with his new daughter and they felt they should go back to New York and closer to their families,” said the new owner, DeeDee Sawyer. She’s not changing anything on the menu for now, and will keep the popular live jazz and open mic nights at the Clematis Street pizzeria.

Jo Larkin has extended dining hours at the City Diner in West Palm Beach; she’s now open for dinner (till 8:30 p.m.) on Tuesdays. Now that the weather is cooling a bit, the new outdoor seating area may finally see some use.

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 klynch // Oct 13, 2008 at 5:25 am

    The website is epicureangourmet.com
    This is going to be such a great addition to the area.

  • 2 Ben // Oct 13, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    I have been to this place twice and it is beyond awesome… the desserts are INCREDIBLE!

    Key Lime Pie is terrific. The desserts are like mini works of art and you will be more than proud to give as a gift.

    I could spend the rest of my life in this store…. again, awesome!

  • 3 bevsnow // Oct 15, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    I’m excited about a replacement for the Village Marketplace. Salamander is much more chi-chi than VM was, so I do have my reservations about too much glitz in the new market. The key deciding factor will be if they are able to replicate VM’s outstanding 7-grain bread. To die for. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  • 4 George Fath // Jan 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    We are winter visitors and loved the Epicurian. Tried the phone number and it has been disconnedcted. Is it really open as we are in Palm Beach Shores on Singer Island and it is a good drive for us. We will gladly make it if it si open.

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