A modern general store opens in Portland

the shop

Andrew and Briana Volk with their daughter Oona.

The latest hospitality venture from Briana and Andrew Volk, the power duo behind Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, is a blend of their hometown states with a hearty heap of Maine.

She’s from Oregon, he’s from Vermont, and Little Giant, their new neighborhood shop and restaurant in Portland’s West End, has touches from all three.

In the space formerly Clark Street Deli & Market, the couple, along with partners Ian and Kate Malin, opened the food emporium Wednesday. Step in off the street and neatly stacked tins of tuna and sardines, bags of just-roasted Tandem Coffee, and colorful pouches of chips from Vintage Maine Kitchen greet you. Think of Little Giant as the extended, well-stocked pantry of friends with great taste that you have access to seven days a week.

ready

On opening day, a deli case with Lakin’s Gorges Cheese of Rockport, and salami from Olympia Provisions of Portland, Oregon beckons. A bounty of bagettes from Standard Baking Co. arrive and find a spot on the counter next to large jars of house-made granola. Tandem’s dark and stealthy Stoker blend is brewed and ready. What’s not to like?

“I grew up in Vermont where there’s always a general store where you can get what you need,” said Andrew, who has updated the concept for Portlanders. “This is a cool, curated selection.”

No nails. Nary a hammer. But lots of tools from which to build a gourmet meal.

Amid the shelves of pasta sauces, spices and mustard are unusual bottles of sherry, a focused section of bubbly, pizza pinot and … don’t overlook the beer section. Everything from Bunker’s Machine Czech Pilz to Heineken will appeal to all tastes.

Milk from Hatchland Farm in New Hampshire is top shelf. But nothing is set in stone. “We want to evolve with the neighborhood,” said Andrew, a noted mixologist who is branching out with Little Giant.

Their restaurant, by the same name, opens around the corner on Danforth Street in May. The cuisine is Continental European and will reflect the neighborhood and their lives. “We are interested in supporting a community that supports us,” said Briana. “We hope that people make it a destination.”

Little Giant, 81 Clark St., Portland is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.