|Chef Karl Zenk at Provisions Market Hall|
Provisions Market Hall, located within the 5th Street Public Market, offers a nearby option for downtown Eugeneans to shop for meals, where once there were limited grocery store options, says Karl Zenk, executive chef for Provisions.
“I used to live on 2nd and Pearl, just up the street, and this area was a real food desert,” Zenk says. “So this is really a great resource for all the people who live around here.”
In 2006, Stephanie Pearl Kimmel opened Marché Provisions, which offered items such as retail food, a bakery, wine and specialty foods. Last September, Kimmel, the founding chef and CEO, and the Marché Restaurant Group opened Provisions Market Hall as an expanded and re-envisioned version of Marché Provisions.
Today, Provisions Market Hall offers the same amenities as Marché Provisions, along with new additions such as a butcher shop, fishmonger, a produce section, prepared foods and professional cookware. Provisions Market Hall also offers customers the option of purchasing ingredients to make Marché Restaurant meals at home. Kimmel also owns Provisions Market Hall.
At the market hall, there is a core philosophy: buy from local farmers and sell seasonal produce. Across from the wine bar is the newly added meat and fish case, which features a range of items from tuna, mussels and oysters to lamb sausage, all indicated by a large yellow-and-orange neon sign that reads “Eat Real Food.”
Karl Zenk says he wanted to work at Provisions as a chef because of these food practices: “I love the philosophy of the cooking. I like the ingredient-driven cuisine that we’re doing here with a definite French twist.”
Zenk explains that at Provisions Market Hall, items are purchased locally from farms and from vendors, such as Newman’s Fish Company, Long’s Meat Market and Nicky USA in Portland. And as a chef, Zenk says he finds higher quality in meals made from products purchased from local farmers.
Buying local food allows Provisions to have a “real connection with where those ingredients are grown, to get to know the farmers and to have a real dialogue with them. It’s just so much more direct and fresher than if you’re using a middleman.”
The back of the shop still features prepared foods, tea, coffee, house-made pizza, ice cream and pastries, along with other options to sit down and eat or grab and go.
“We try to bring as much produce in from farmers as possible,” Shane Tracey, Provisions Market Hall pastry chef, says. “When we are designing desserts for the case, and the ice creams, and designing desserts for the restaurant, everything is seasonally based because that’s the philosophy. That’s what we work from, and everything that we do is based on that.”
In a broader sense, Zenk explains that he sees an overall benefit to the community by supporting local farms and providing farm-to-table products.
“We’re supporting these little farms that are protective of the environment,” he says. “They are growing organic food, and so when we are giving them support, that just helps to foster more farms, hopefully.”
He continues, “I think if you’ve been around for awhile, you’ve noticed a growth at the Saturday Farmers Market. I like to think that a lot of that was helped along by places like Marché and that we’re being very supportive of local agriculture.”
To learn more about Provisions Market Hall, visit its website, provisionsmarkethall.com.