Ryder’s gourmet market opening on Cardinal Drive

The island will get a new delicatessen and dining spot next week as Ryder’s debuts in a renovated building on Cardinal Drive.

Owner Tom Ryder says the gourmet market, which will offer take-out meals and onsite, outdoor dining, will have a soft opening prior to Labor Day.

The property, formerly the home of the Super Stop convenience store, has undergone a complete transformation both inside and out in recent months, with the addition of a 1,500-square-foot kitchen and the creation of a “secret garden” on the north side of the building where people can eat outside and enjoy themselves in a space one passerby said is reminiscent of McKee Garden.

“We wanted to make a place that looked like it fit in on Cardinal Drive and did honor to our neighbors,” said Ryder, who is opening the new business with his son Rob Ryder, owner of the Cookhouse, a restaurant in New Milford, Conn.

The southern wall of the building is blooming with color from a giant bougainvillea trellis fronted by a row of sabal palm trees. Inside is the big kitchen and plenty of retail space for curated cheeses, pastas, sauces, jellies, sausages, olives, fine chocolates and wines.

Rob and Tom Ryders’ shared love of food and wine was the genesis for the market, and they have sourced a treasure trove of artisanal food products from around the world, including olive oil from Italy, France, Spain and Greece; vinegar from France and Italy; caviar from Russia; and stone-ground grits from Georgia.

Also on offer are local craft beers, produce, sliced meats and sundries a tourist might need while here on vacation.

During a tour of market, Rob Ryder stopped by the wine case, noting that he and his father, the former publisher of Food & Wine magazine, “like to think that we know a little something about good wine. These have all been hand-selected by us; nothing is over $25. We want you to have a great value, a delicious wine that won’t break your bank.”

Ryder’s chefs, Nicholas La Mattina and Sue Torres, both bring culinary expertise to the new kitchen. Chef La Mattina, with his Italian-centric cuisine, has worked at Boca Raton Resort and Spa and various Hilton and Marriott resorts, while Chef Torres’ Spanish-inspired cooking has been showcased in New York restaurants including 21 Club, La Grenouille and Isabella’s.

Rob and Tom put together an á la carte menu based on foods they love, including a variety of breakfast and lunch items. You can pop in for a Café du Monde-style beignet, baked goods, grits and breakfast sandwiches in the morning, or stop by at lunch for a salad, burger or po-boy with a variety of unconventional fillings.

“We built the kitchen to be able to go any direction,” said Rob, noting that La Mattina and Torres have been breaking in the kitchen, creating menu items for Ryder’s Take-Away gourmet program.

The hot cases will hold a selection of gourmet meals for two called “Dinner Tonight” that customers can take home and heat up.

“If you come here three or four times a week, you can always walk away with something new or put together a basket and go home and make something yourself with the stuff off our shelves,” said Rob Ryder.

“We combined our love for Vero Beach and our love for food into one project, and we’re having fun doing it. I want people to come here and not necessarily know what to expect, except that they’re going to have good food. We’re opening a fun store in paradise. What could be better,” he continued.

Delivery will also be available, from bridge to bridge via bicycle, with plans for an expansion of the delivery area soon. Pulling from his 24 years as the owner of a barbecue restaurant, Rob Ryder promises barbecue will eventually be added to the menu as well.

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