By Melissa Anderson
We talked with Patrick from River City Outpost Slow-Food Cafe & Market about the simplicity that the store promotes, the #weeklysnacksack, and why this store hopes to make the Manayunk community more connected.
Where did the inspiration to create River City Outpost come from?
"We've always said this place is a reflection of the community," Patrick started off. "Meeting all of the people in the community and getting to know their names as well as hearing their stories is important to us."
Patrick went on to discuss the themes of the market, "Being able to provide a conversation and the free education about each of the products was a big theme for us when we started." He added that they don't assume that everyone knows all of the produce and products they carry in the market and they're willing to educate visitors in that capacity.
Simplicity is another big theme Patrick discussed. "Making a sandwich out of the sourdough bread from Baker Street Bread in Chestnut Hill, ripe avocados, and an amazing sea salt, will stand out and taste better than any $5 footlong you'd get at Subway."
Expressing the excitement of opening their community kitchen, Patrick mentioned that it will be open to those in the neighborhood who have a love of food. "If someone works during the day who doesn't get to pursue that, we want to give them the opportunity to make and sell their food in the market."
Can you explain what "slow-food" is?
Patrick gave a brief history of the slow-food movement that started in the '80s due to McDonald's expanding their global outreach to Italy and Italians wanting nothing to do with it. "The basic principles of the movement is good food and connecting with the local community."
The market is filled with local products, including the root vegetables—such as sweet potatoes and turnips—that come from Pennsylvania farms and Volta Natural Cleaning that's based in Germantown. "They're the people we want to work with. The first question we ask ourselves is: How can we make this more local?"
Expressing his hope to connect other restaurants into the slow-food movement, Patrick said, "We would like to get to a point where we can work with local businesses on Main Street to provide them organic and locally grown produce from our shop."
If you could eat only two foods for the rest of your life what would you choose?
"Pizza and our vegan brownies. There is something savory and something sweet, and at least a little healthy," Patrick said laughing. He also added that his choice of pizza isn't particular either, "Pizza is adventurous, it wouldn't be boring."
What would you say is the most popular item in the market?
Besides the Kombucha they have on draft, Patrick mentioned they've sold out of their Volta Natural Cleaning yoga mat cleaner. "Another big seller is our Schmidt's natural deodorant. It really shows how active the Manayunk/Roxborough community is."
Your Instagram contest is still happening, have you gotten some good pictures?
Patrick said that he loves looking at the pictures that have been submitted, "It's exciting to see how inspired people get by foods, which is why we started the contest."
You have until midnight tonight to submit a photo of anything you purchased at River City Outpost to the #rivercityoutpost and #weeklysnacksack hashtags on Instagram. The best picture posted will receive a $20 store credit and a t-shirt.
What are you looking forward to this spring in Manayunk?
From sunrise to sunset on Main Street, there's always something to do in Manayunk on the weekends. "The sunrises and sunsets are beautiful bookends to the day. In between, I really enjoy getting to ride my bike or walking around and seeing people."
How do you decide what goes into your weekly snack sack?
The weekly snack sack was started for two reasons: River City Outpost wanted to use it as a way to start a conversation and to give the education aspect about each of the produce items that go into it.
"We try to do a theme each week, but we're not being forceful with it." The way they structure the snack sack is to make sure nothing will go to waste. So don't worry, you'll never be given just a whole bag of parsnips, you'll be given the appropriate amount of produce to make a meal.
To sign up for the weekly snack sack, Patrick recommends coming into the store to talk about it at the beginning of the month so they know how many products to order, but you are able to go in whenever to sign up.
Why should visitors choose to come to your market vs. another market?
"Everything we do here is very approachable, it's very fresh, and it's going to be beneficial for your body—whether it's something you're eating or putting on your body." The market is very conversational, Patrick adds that there's always potential to learn from a customer who comes into the store as well.
No matter when you stop in at River City Outpost at 4414 Main Street, Patrick, Andres, and Ammie will be happy to talk to you about their various products in their cafe and market and any other questions you may have.
Visit the Manayunk Development Corporation Contact page for full contact information.
Office: 4312 Main Street, Philadelphia, PA 19127