The first thing to know is that the plum market located in the Ally center is not a full service location, rather it is what plum market is calling a condensed collection. Being a condensed location you will not find any fresh produce, however you will still find a sizeable assortment of prepackaged “healthy” snacks on shelves.
Upon entering plum market after a three stair step down you are immediately cast in to a seating area, which you will have to traverse to enter the shopping area.
To the left of the eating area is a relatively large floral area with nice and fresh looking flowers.
To the right is a sleek looking bar.
One thing to note however is that I was told that alcohol bought in the store can not be consumed on the premises, only drinks bought through the bar can be. Although I’m fairly certain I saw other people getting their store bought bottle of wine uncorked at the bar. So if you are going for a meal and want to also have an alcoholic drink be mindful that it may not work out for you how you would expect. Something that really made me laugh was the chilled champagne vending machine next to the bar.
Ignoring both the floral area and the bar, continuing straight will lead you in to the market proper. Like I said above, there really isn’t too much in terms of groceries in this store. There are two small aisles by the centrally placed cafe / cash register and then a few more aisles shooting off from either side. A good 1/4 of the shelving space was dedicated to wine and beer. The other 3/4 of the shelves seemed to be dedicated to chocolates, “healthy” snacks and hygiene products such as high end soaps.
There are also many, many juice drinks lining one side of the building along a refrigerated interior wall, opposite this wall is another smaller refrigerated section housing mostly organic milk and the like.
Nearing the back of the store brings you to a fabulous looking deli there are two long food bars, filled with everything from rice, chicken and salad to meatballs, mixed vegetables, and beans.
After you get done perusing the food bars you are greeted by four deli stations, one for hot foods, one for salads, one for sandwiches and one for sushi.
That’s pretty much it for the content and layout of the store, below is a food review, my personal thoughts and overall review.
I found it really nice how everything how everything in the deli was labeled for caloric content but the sticker shock at checkout made me think back and realize how, suspiciously, absolutely nothing was labeled for price. Initially I had no opinion either way about the cafeteria style of picking up food and paying for it in another location but after realizing everything was missing a price I almost felt duped by the system. You get food and take it out of the deli area making it impossible to return only to be told it is some exorbitant price. I had a pot pie which was a decent size but no exceptionally large and that by itself was $12.99 which I find crazy.
I can’t speak to the quality of all the food but I definitely found the pot pie lacking. Right off the bat the crust of the pot pie was not flaky and actually felt a little doughy. Also the gravy was very nontraditional, it tasted slightly creamy with a hint of sweetness and left a bit of a spicy tingle on my lips even though it didn’t taste spicy. One the plus side the chicken was very tender and the flavors seemed to mesh alright.
I wouldn’t consider this a bad pot pie but at the same time I wouldn’t consider it good, it was very middle of the road and for $12.99 I would expect much better.
For all those who don’t want to read a wall of text let me summarize my opinions on the downtown condensed collection plum market:
- Friendly staff.
- Big beer and wine selection.
- Very expensive in my opinion, see above.
- Food is not great in my very limited experience, see above.
- Questionable about what you can and can’t drink.
- Very limited selection on groceries.
I ultimately gave this store a 3/5 while it does have it’s weaknesses it also has a lot of strengths and I would rate my experiences here overall positively. Just don’t expect anything more than a deli / bar / convenience store.