The Old Fourth Ward location of Bennett’s Market and Deli is closing at SPX Alley along the Eastside Beltline, co-owner Claire Pearson tells Eater. Pearson and Victoria Bennett opened the second location in September 2019 hoping to expand their neighborhood market business first started nearly a decade ago on the corner of Boulevard and Rosalie Street in Grant Park.
SPX Alley is also home to Pour Taproom, Nina and Rafi, the James Room, Guac y Margys, and Hawkers Asian Street Food.
Beyond pantry and picnic provisions, basic grocery necessities, and beer and wine, Bennett’s Market is known for serving fresh soups and deli sandwiches, including a New York-style pastrami, a reuben, and an all-day bacon, egg, and cheese.
“We’ve been deeply impacted and despite making it through the pandemic (or so we thought,) [we] can’t keep both locations going,” says Pearson of closing Bennett’s on the Beltline. “Sales were terrible, rent was way too high for our foot traffic, staff really did not like working there because of parking and how dark it gets at night especially when walking to your car.”
With this latest surge in COVID-19 cases due to the highly transmissible omicron variant, coupled with the increasing costs of ingredients and current labor shortage, Pearson says she and Bennett couldn’t continue operating the market in two locations.
“We have transferred everything to Grant Park to spruce it up and our hope is we can continue to enjoy the support of that neighborhood as we have for the last 8 years,” Pearson says.
With the Grant Park market well established and momentum building at the Old Fourth Ward location prior to the pandemic, Bennett and Pearson had hoped to build out a patio at SPX Alley to take advantage of foot traffic from the Eastside trail. The Old Fourth Ward market was hit particularly hard during the first year of the global health crisis. The lack of college students and television and film crews living nearby saw large catering jobs cancelled and daily sales at the Beltline location drop by nearly 70 percent in 2020, Pearson told Eater at the time.
Bennett’s Market and Deli in Grant Park opens at 11 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends. Online ordering for food and groceries available.