TAMPA — The Oxford Exchange just celebrated a successful first year in business, but the owners have more plans for the popular restaurant and shop.
The new OE Market opened Tuesday at the corner of Hyde Park and Grand Central avenues, just west of downtown. The market, which sells sandwiches, fresh pressed juices and cold coffees and teas, is operating in an area the restaurant also uses for storage and food preparation, just a few steps from the main location on Kennedy Boulevard.
“We’ve been talking about it for a long time,” said Allison Adams, co-owner of the Oxford Exchange. “We’ve finally been able to catch our breath and make it happen.”
Like the main restaurant, the market offers gourmet menu items, but in a grab-and-go fashion, said Oxford Exchange chef Erin Guggino.
OE Market employees roast all of the meats for the sandwiches and press all the organic fruits and vegetables for the bottled juices, she said. The sandwiches can be made either hot or cold and come on two types of bread, one gluten-free, Guggino said. Some are prepared ahead of time while others are made to order.
Customers also can buy bottled coffees and teas from Buddy Brew Coffee and TeaBella tea shop. The market has pastries, yogurt parfaits, pickles and other sides.
“We’re definitely trying to appeal to all different palates,” Guggino said.
Adams said opening the market is the first step to starting an Oxford Exchange catering service, which she hopes will pick up in the market’s first few months.
“This is definitely different,” she said about the OE Market.
The Oxford Exchange opened September 2012 in a 100-year-old brick building across Kennedy Boulevard from the University of Tampa. The renovated space with its gleaming marble floors and bright solarium is home to a gourmet restaurant, home design shop and bookstore.
In December, the owners acquired the 2,000-square-foot building where OE Market is located. Until now, the space was used for food preparation because the kitchen in the main building is too small to handle the 200-seat restaurant, Adams said.
The space still will be used for storage and prep work, Adams said, but the OE Market and the accompanying catering business were always part of the plan for the Oxford Exchange brand.
“We just think, for the area, it will be a great convenience for those who don’t have time to take in the whole Oxford Exchange experience,” she said.