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Med Deli market brings fresh produce to Franklin Street

Mohamed Jamili tends to the newly opened Mediterranean Market located within Med Deli on West Franklin Street.
Mohamed Jamili tends to the newly opened Mediterranean Market located within Med Deli on West Franklin Street.

Alongside the restaurant and bakery, Mediterranean Deli opened its market next to its existing location at 410 W. Franklin St. earlier this month. The market offers basic groceries like fresh produce, milk, bread and meats as well as specialty items including pomegranate molasses, halal meat, Israeli brine pickles and a variety of spices and bulk dry goods.

Jamil Kadoura, the owner of Mediterranean Deli, saw Chapel Hill’s need for a downtown grocery store and filled it.

“It completes the whole concept of Mediterranean Deli in my opinion,” Kadoura said.

“We started a small grill many years ago and it just took off. Mediterranean Deli became an operation here. It’s not just a small restaurant.”

Mandy Monath, a market shopper from Raleigh, said she thinks the market is a great addition because shoppers can get fresh grocery items while picking up something for dinner from the deli at the same time.

“For a long time you haven’t been able to buy a tomato on Franklin Street,” Monath said.

Mediterranean Deli previously added a bakery and a separate gluten-free bakery to the restaurant. Kadoura said customers are really excited about the market, and business has been better than expected in the week and a half the market has been open.

“The restaurant is going to help the market, and the market is going to help the restaurant,” Kadoura said.

Meg McGurk, executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said while creating “Downtown Imagine,” a Chapel Hill community vision plan, she heard repeatedly that residents wanted an urban grocery store to accommodate the growing residential base downtown.

“The Mediterranean market really fits that need,” McGurk said. “It’s really hitting on what people have been asking for. People want to be able to live, work and play in one spot.”

“Downtown Imagine” is a part of a downtown master plan for Chapel Hill’s future that the downtown partnership is in the process of creating.

Tala Goudarzi, a sophomore at UNC, said she is happy to have a more authentic market than Trader Joe’s or Harris Teeter so much closer to where she lives.

“I think its great that they finally opened a market,” Goudarzi said.

“They have spices that you can’t get anywhere else and they have these really good yogurt drinks called doogh that you can’t get anywhere else besides the Caspian Market in Raleigh, which is obviously very far away.”

“Also, I am just a huge fan of Med Deli,” Goudarzi said. “It does add a literal spice to my life.”

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