What you’ll find at the huge new Giant supermarket on the Schuylkill River

Local products, a coffee shop, 40 beers on tap and terrace seating with a view of 30th Street Station.

The entrance to the Giant Riverwalk is on 23rd Street

The entrance to the Giant Riverwalk is on 23rd Street

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
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Giant’s newest Philly location lives up to its name. With more floor space than most Center City supermarkets, the chain’s new “urban flagship” takes up the first two levels of the Riverwalk apartment tower at 23rd and Arch streets.

In addition to regular groceries, the location has a full wall of beer on tap, an on-tap kombucha bar, and an outdoor terrace with literal lounge couches and fire pits. A food hall offers gelato, sushi, tacos and other hot foods, many from local vendors.

Massive windows maximize its location, overlooking the Schuylkill River across from 30th Street Station. More than 220 Philadelphians will be hired to staff the store, which opened Friday morning.

A line of eager customers waited outside for the 9 a.m. launch, as officials marked the grand opening. Mayor Jim Kenney joined CIty Council President Darrell Clarke and a number of Giant representatives for an elaborate ceremony featuring the singing of the National Anthem and the West Powelton Drummers.

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Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

At 65,000 square feet, the store is not quite as big as the Giant on Grant Avenue near the Northeast Philadelphia Airport, but is much bigger than the company’s three other Philly spots, which all fall under the Giant Heirloom brand.

The new Giant is somewhat bigger than the Whole Foods flagship behind the Art Museum and the ShopRite at Whitman Plaza, more than four times the size of the Aldi at Broad and Ridge, and six times the size of the Trader Joe’s at Broad and Arch.

It’s part of the under-construction Riverwalk development, a network of residential and commercial mixed-use properties featuring luxury apartments and coworking space.

Here’s some of what you’ll find when you visit.

Local goods

Loaves from High Street on Market and Merzbacher’s, beans from One Village Coffee, cannoli from Isgro’s, Italian goods from Claudio’s and chocolates from Asher’s are among the local products regularly in stock on the market’s many shelves.

Cannoli for sale at Center City Philadelphia’s new Giant food store at 23rd and Arch Streets. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Cannoli for sale at Center City Philadelphia’s new Giant food store at 23rd and Arch Streets. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Food hall

Prepared and made-to-order options are available from local and national purveyors. You can order grab-and-go tacos from Mission Taqueria, green and grain bowls from Conshohocken-based Saladworks, and things like sushi, sandwiches, soups, flatbread pizzas and gelato.

Beer garden, plus wine and cider

A wall adjacent to the food hall holds taps offering more than 40 draft beers. Next to them are a couple aisles of wine and champagne, plus fridges full of chilled cider. Elevated stools at the indoor seating area look out of the floor-to-ceiling windows toward 30th Street Station and the Schuylkill.

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Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Outdoor loungin’

Right now there’s still some construction next door, but the large outdoor terrace offers cool views of passing trains, the Schuylkill River trail and 30th Street Station. It feels more like a place to lounge around than a quick stop at a grocery store, varied seating, couch areas and fire pits.

The new Giant food store in Center City, Philadelphia, has a terrace for diners. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The new Giant food store in Center City, Philadelphia, has a terrace for diners. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Starbucks

The ground floor, which functions as a pickup station for grocery orders placed online, also holds a full-size Starbucks coffee shop. It’s surrounded by a few works by local artists.

Kombucha bar

In addition to a refrigerated kombucha section near the front, four self-serve spigots give shoppers the chance to fill as half-gallon growlers with various flavors of the fizzy brewed drink.

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Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Tons of produce

An open produce section greets shoppers as they enter. According to the company, it holds about 600 different kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables, including many from local farms.

Cheese section

Local producers also help fill the cheese wall, including options from Philabundance’s Abundantly Good label, which helps support Pa. dairy farmers.

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Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Meats and fish

When it comes to meat, you can get fancy with cuts of beef aged in-house for up to 42 days. The seafood counter boasts that many of its options are sustainably sourced.

Plant-based foods

Giant says this outlet has its largest selection of plant-based foods to date, with products from Impossible and Beyond, vegan cheeses and ice creams, and other options for those who don’t eat animals.

Check-out at the new Giant food store in Center City, Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Check-out at the new Giant food store in Center City, Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Escalators and a cart lift

The store has a warehouse feel with high ceilings, and a mix of natural and fluorescent lighting. Most of the shopping happens on the second floor, which you can get to via an elevator or escalator. At the end of the checkout, you’ll also find a descending lift to take your shopping cart back to ground level.

Parking

The new store offers a ground level garage with direct access to the store’s lobby free for customers for the first two hours. After that, it’s $5 every 30 minutes with a max of $50 per day.

Giant Riverwalk at 60 N. 23rd St. is open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

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