Next month the Valley will gain 100,000-square-feet of culinary shopping ground when the AZ International Marketplace opens its doors to the public. The gigantic grocery store, located at 1920 West Broadway Road in Mesa, comes from the same owners at Mekong Plaza, the Asian-centric market that opened seven years ago on the southwest corner of Main Street and Dobson.
And though AZ International Marketplace officially opens on April 20, we took a tour of the still-under-construction space to get an idea of what you'll be able to expect.
According to property manager Drew Burtoni, the market will stock products from all over the world including Asian, African, European, and Middle Eastern ingredients and food products. The market will have full meat and seafood departments, though there won't be live tanks like those found at Mekong Plaza. Burtoni says the market will be arranged by type of product as opposed to region — for example, spices will all be found in one aisle with labels for those typically used in various ethnic cuisines.
Though the shelves had yet to be fully stocked during our visit we were pretty impressed with the market's dozens of varieties of Spam (seriously, the only place we've seen that many types of Spam is in Hawai'i) and entire aisle dedicated to different brands of instant ramen.
But AZ International Marketplace won't just be for groceries. The market will also offer a garden department and a selection of general merchandise ranging from dog products and toys to rice cookers and hair products. In fact, Burtoni estimates about half of the market's square footage will be dedicated to food with the other half filled with non-food and grocery products.
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"It's like an international Walmart," Burtoni says.
Finally, the market will house three restaurants: a Mexican eatery, fast food Chinese restaurant, and iSnow, a boba shop. The market's owners also own the strip mall in which the market's located and have secured several additional restaurant tenants including a pho restaurant and a New Orleans-style crab and crawfish restaurant, according to Burtoni.
The market will open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20. For updates, giveaways, and other information, check the AZ International Marketplace Facebook.