When I visited Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe a few weeks ago, I had a chance to get a peek at Magnolia Square Market, a German deli and specialty store that owner Theo Hollerbach has been wanting to open for some time. I figured it would be something akin to a glorified food stand, the sort of thing you’d find set up at a farmers market or food fair.
But when we walked in to the dark space from the back door and the lights were flicked on, I do think my jaw dropped open.
I couldn’t believe the size of the place and amount of stock on the bulging shelves. And all the meats, cheeses and sausages in the sparkling display case. No, we’re not talking a store to rival the size of a Publix. But I do think the deli part of it is bigger than any of the chain supermarket’s.
And the quality of the products under the polished glass case is arguably better, too. That’s because many of the items, including the sausages and pates, are made to Hollerbach’s specifications. Even some of the wursts carrying the well-known Schaller & Weber label are made especially for Magnolia Square Market. And the shelf life of the products sold at Magnolia Square is shorter, too.
But that’s a good thing. The longer the shelf life of a product the more likely it is loaded with preservatives. Hollerbach keeps preservatives out of his recipes.
And like any good deli, you can have your meats and cheeses sliced to your specifications, or you can have the workers assemble a sandwich. And, of course, the bread for the sandwich will have been freshly baked in Magnolia’s ovens. They also produce an array of other baked goods, including pastries and cakes, and a line of gluten free items.
The shelves of the market are stocked with imported items -- sauces, pickles, juices, preserves, mixes. There’s even a nook dedicated to German wines and home beer brewing equipment. It’s all quite an array.
And Hollerbach beams when he shows it off. As a downtowner, I just stood there shaking my head and asking Why Sanford? Why not downtown Orlando? This, I thought, was what Harmoni Market had hoped to be, or maybe even Dexter’s of Thornton Park when it first opened as part restaurant, part market. Or whatever the place was called that is now City Fish on Central Boulevard. Were those places just ahead of their time?
Whatever. If you’re pining for that type of market, all I can tell you is Sanford has one. And I’m jealous as all get out.
Magnolia Square Market is at 117 S. Magnolia Ave., Sanford. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m to 8 p.m. Saturday. Here’s a link to the Magnolia Square Market website. The phone number is 407-878-4942.