A burger and a pint
Three years after Quality Market morphed into a deli/convenience store with 29 craft beer taps and seven more for cider, sangria and wine, locals still wander into the East Jackson Street establishment looking for the meat counter.
While the market once built a reputation on its butcher shop, the new iteration has developed a niche that goes beyond the grab-something-on-the-way-home and student crowds.
"Just getting people realizing we're here is still important," said store manager Jake Miller. "We've started to take advantage of the high-end wines and beers made in Oregon and Northern California. We've put in the big wine rack with 400 facings and adding the specialty beers, giving the east side a place so they don't have to drive all the way across town to Harry & David."
Last week, Quality Market swung open the doors to a 1,000-square-foot tasting room for customers wanting to drink a pint of beer or sip a glass of wine on the premises. The room is equipped with televisions to watch sporting events, along with darts, tables and couches.
"We weren't using this part of the building. When we first opened, we only needed 3,500 square feet," Miller said. "This was just storage space with lots of old coolers and old shelves. It gives people, especially on the east side, a place to come and enjoy a pint and a burger, sandwich or wrap."
The tasting room was slated to open a couple of weeks ago, but Oregon Liquor Control Commission had temporary misgivings about the floor plan, delaying the opening until last Friday.
The 400 wine bottles, including close to 200 from Southern Oregon — along with the beers, wines and ciders on tap — provide a range of options. Customers can also bring their own wine, for a $5 corkage fee.
The room can be reserved, but not for exclusive use.
Every other Tuesday, Oregon or Northern California breweries will send in representatives with glasses and shirts, offering four or five beers.
"Sometimes they will tell us we're still really new and we don't have a rep, but the owner will drop by when they're in town," Miller said. "I've been trying to match it up with wine tastings. The perfect storm is having a brewery coming in for tastings, a winery coming in for tastings and a local food vendor."
For a time, Miller said, there was a thought that a meat counter might work, but the area was too narrow to set up processing equipment.
"I'm happy with the way it's grown, but there is still more room to grow," he said.