This is no April Fools joke.
The highly anticipated Flora's Market Run, located in the former Rincon Market building at Sixth Street and Tucson Boulevard, will be hosting a soft opening to the Sam Hughes neighborhood residents on Thursday, April 1, and to the general public in the near future.
While the nearly 100-year-old market will stay true to its grocery and cafe roots, the team at Ares Collective Restaurant Group—Prep and Pastry, Commoner and Co., August Rhodes Bakery—have updated the menu and operations as the corner store approaches the century mark.
"We knew if we came into this spot we needed to do something different. We needed to call it something different," Ares Collective chef and partner Kyle Nottingham said. "We wanted to start fresh and say, 'This is our interpretation of this space,' while paying homage to it. We didn't want people to associate us purely with just doing the old Rincon Market."
Nottingham said the new market will be segmented between grocery and deli on one side and a full service restaurant on the other. While the grocery will be open to the public next Tuesday, the restaurant is expected to open later in the month, according to the chef. The grocery store features an updated produce department, a local-centric grocery department, a butcher shop with a seafood section and a delicatessen. Master butcher and fishmonger Jamie TeBockhorst will be heading up the meat and seafood department. He previously served Canyon Ranch for the past 20 years, helping the wellness resort become a mainstay of the local culinary community.
"Our seafood program is going to be absolutely incredible. We are partnering with a few incredible purveyors for seafood and we'll be getting the freshest seafood possible," Nottingham said. "The butcher shop and the deli area are in the same place now. So, when you walk into the grocery side, it's all going to be grocery."
On the restaurant side, Nottingham said they've overhauled the space and added custom woodworking pieces by Old Pueblo Craftsmen, subway tile and copper finishes to the market's decor. The menu will be dependent on the produce, cuts of meat and seafood the grocery is able to acquire, according to Nottingham. They've also included mesquite wood-fired pizza to be a staple to their ever-changing menu. The chef said to expect the menu to be market-centric and a fresh interpretation of American cuisine.
"The restaurant side is going to be purely a restaurant. We're going to be doing breakfast, lunch and dinner. We've added an incredibly massive pizza oven to do woodfired pizzas," Nottingham said. "Our butcher is going to bring in curated oysters from specific localities and then those will be featured at our oyster crudo bar at night."
Flora's has also updated the coffee and espresso bar and extended the building's outside patio, said the chef.
Originally, Ares Collective planned to build a standalone market near First Avenue and River Road, but when Rincon Market closed last summer due to the pandemic, they felt that space—and the Sam Hughes neighborhood—would be perfect for their plans.
"This space literally fell into our laps and we couldn't resist it. This was right when COVID happened, too," Nottingham said. "We signed a brand-new lease of this unproven concept, in an area where we weren't 100% familiar with. But we knew it's a good space with a lot of potential and we all just thought this makes the most sense."
The market's name is a double entendre relating to the children's book Flora the Flamingo—which Nottingham and Ares Collective owner Nate Ares both read to their kids—and the word's traditional meaning since the market and restaurant will be lush with plantlife "dripping from the ceiling," said Nottingham. They added the word "run" to the name, implying it has a fast-casual menu and environment, according to the chef.
Nottingham notes there may be some who might wonder why they didn't keep the market's old moniker. He said the previous branding was not included with the lease and they really want to start something new while keeping much of the tried and true touches the former market was known for.
"I think this was meant to be and it's everything we could ever want in a space," Nottingham said. "Hopefully, it pays off."
Flora's Market Run
2513 E. Sixth St.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
This article originally said the market would be opening next week. While the grocers hope to open then, they have not confirmed a date.