Salem’s Market & Grill Opens Grocery Retailer at Heart Heldman Plaza within the Hill District | Meals | Pittsburgh
Cp file photo: Annie Brewer
The Ramadan buffet at Salem’s Market & Grill
A popular restaurant and market in Pittsburgh, with support from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, will soon help tackle food insecurity in a local neighborhood.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced that URA will begin rental negotiations with Salem’s Market & Grill to open a grocery store in Center Heldman Plaza on 1850 Center Avenue in the Hill District. The new store will move to an area that was once used by a Shop ‘n Save supermarket.
The former Shop ‘n Save, one of the few places where Hill District residents could buy groceries, closed in 2019, just five years after it opened. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the closure, the site was the community’s first full-service supermarket in three decades.
Councilor Daniel Lavelle (D-Hill District), who worked with URA and Hill Community Development Corporation to find a new tenant for the area, said in a press release: “Salem’s Hill District market is a huge win for both of us for Salems and the Hill District parish. ”
In addition to providing fresh produce, meat, international food and other items, Salem’s new location is being touted for bringing jobs to the neighborhood and providing retail space for local suppliers. A press release said local trading companies and minority owned companies will also be hired to build the project.
Salem’s originally opened as a Halal and Middle Eastern restaurant on Penn Avenue in the Strip District over 40 years ago. Long owned and operated by the Salem family, originally from Libya, the company added a food and meat market in Oakland. The shop is popular with both the local Muslim community and guests looking for authentic, high quality Middle Eastern food and groceries.
URA took over the former Shop ‘n Save after it closed and has since worked with the community to find a potential tenant for the space. URA deputy general manager Diamonte Walker said the organization bought Center Heldman Plaza to “ensure a transparent discussion about which grocery store best fits the needs of the Hill District community”.
According to a press release, Salem’s was selected from four finalists presented last month at Hill CDC’s Development Review Panel, where residents “shared their views and preferences by filling out an online scorecard for each candidate.” Salem’s motion is described as highlighting how they “work with and contribute to the Hill District community, based on the Greater Hill District Master Plan and Center Avenue Redevelopment and Design Plan to enhance the overlooked, historically black neighborhood could afford ”.
Lavelle believes the deal will be beneficial to Salem’s as it will allow the business to expand while helping efforts to rebuild Center Avenue as a thriving business corridor. Lavelle has worked with Hill Township to attract “community-minded tenants” to Center Heldman Plaza, including CARES CommuniTEA Café, Catapult Minority Business Incubator and G’s Closet.
“We would like to thank Mayor Peduto, Councilor Lavelle, and the Hill CDC for committing to a community-centered process that continues our recent success in revitalizing the Hill District with local minority-owned businesses,” said Walker. “We look forward to entering into trusting rental negotiations with Salem’s.”