Have you ever tasted a Royal Plumcot? How about a Picasso Melon?
Spoiler alert: I don’t think so, because they are exclusive to Central Market’s newly-reopened Preston Royal location. The store reopened today after a 20-month rebuilding and restoration project with an additional 4,500 square feet of selling space and expanded produce, floral, seafood, and meat offerings, a community-centric coffee bar, and enhanced indoor and outdoor seating areas for guests.
The renaissance of this location is a happy ending to a difficult period of time for Preston Hollow and the Royal Oaks shopping center which took a direct hit from an EF 3 tornado on October 20, 2019. When the tornado swept through, the Central Market partners and approximately 20 shoppers huddled in the walk-in freezer in the back of the store. When the storm passed, the store was dark, aside from the faint light of the stormy sky which was now in plain view above them, where the ceiling had been.
From that evening forward, the Butt family, HEB, and Central Market have been extraordinary corporate citizens and human beings, taking care of the employees, or “partners” as they call them, feeding first responders on-site, delivering food and essential items to neighbors, donating significant funds to local organizations and schools, including a $1 million donation to the Dallas Education Foundation to rebuild several damaged schools, including Walnut Hill Elementary School, which was decimated the same night.
No one doesn’t love Central Market. I write and post frequently about the store and its array of products and get messages from readers all over the country who have visited a Central Market and have deep regret that they can’t go more often. This new store is a beauty, with the same graceful arched ceiling, now covered in a warm paneled wood giving it a more elegant, less industrial feel. The merchandising is exceptional, as it always is, with the rows and rows of fruits and vegetables, wines, shelf-stable products, dairy, bakery, meat, and cheese, deli and prepared foods compelling you to see everything in the store to fill your cart with the best products available.
Some of the highlights of the new store include products such as the Royal Plumcot, which looks a bit like a purple peach on the outside and a beautiful red tomato on the inside and tastes like summer; sweet, just a little tart hint of plum with the rich finish of an apricot.
These were grown on the private, personal orchard of Dave Jackson of Family Tree Farms, the California-based orchard where Central Market gets much of their produce. The chief buyer for produce tasted the Picasso Melon at a fancy food show in Berlin and was entranced by the melon’s sweet taste and white flesh, so unusual for a melon which is usually orange or green. Central Market acquired seeds for this melon and behold, you can now buy it at the Preston Royal store.
Also, at this location only, you can now see the magic of mushrooms growing in the Smallhold Mushrooms vertical mini farm tucked away in the produce department. These exotic mushrooms grow quickly and are harvested and sold just steps away from their little incubator. Like watching an aquarium, seeing these dramatic fungi grow could be a fun activity for little ones.
The bakery features an astounding 320 items, including breads, those fabulous tortillas, and pastries. The cheese shop expanded to 350 different varieties, there are 40 different kinds of sushi sold, and a “chocolate wall” which features a bean-to-bar chocolate section. This is a foodie wonderland.
The sexiest item I saw was a Veuve Clicquot City Arrow tin personalized with Preston Royal where other tins have Paris, London, Madrid in bold, black letters. The display is impressive and sweet, such a feel-good sight to see.
Though the rest of the Royal Oaks shopping center is still unoccupied, very much still under construction, the heart of Preston Royal is beating again now that Central Market has reopened. Just in time for the July 4 weekend, all you foodies can go there to feel the gratitude and positive energy that permeates the store and take advantage of the grand reopening specials.
Thank you again to the Butt family and the leadership and partners of Central Market for being such a positive part of our community. We are so glad to have you back in Preston Hollow.