If you live in the neighborhood and have ever needed a banana, bread, or bottle of wine, you've probably been to Nabila's Market at 559 Hayes Street. Recently we stopped by and spoke with Shadi Wahbeh, nephew of owner Ray Yousef, to get a little background on the local market.
Ray opened Nabila's in 1996 after seeing the success of his brother's store at Fillmore and Haight Street. Nabila's, still family owned and run, is named after Ray's mother, Nabila Yousef.
More than just a glorified corner store, Nabila’s offers customers a wide array of goods.
In the first aisle you can find everything you'll need for dinner at home. Canned soups, beans, dry pastas, sauces, and salad dressings are right across from a large refrigerated case that spans the whole aisle filled with fresh vegetables, fruits, and fresh herbs. Having such a large selection of fresh produce definitely sets Nabila's apart from other markets in the area.
The second aisle has everything you may need for breakfast — a selection of nondairy milks, fruit juices, an array of boxed teas, whole grain cereals, and bulk coffee beans you can grind there if you choose.
On the third aisle you can find a variety of whole grain chips and crackers, deli meats, cheeses, dairy products, eggs, and packaged sandwiches, salads, and dips. There's also a great selection of organic and whole grain items including Amy's Organic soups, frozen dinners, and boxed meals.
If you're thirsty, you're in luck. Nabila's offers white, red, and sparkling wines at a range of prices and from a wide array of wineries. You can also find a standard selection of pale ales, porters, stouts, and lagers in the fridge at the back of the store.
In the last few years, thanks to the influx of tourists and locals flocking to the ever-changing Hayes Valley area, the market has seen an increase in business and foot traffic. One local resident we spoke with, Jenn Tsan, shops at Nabila's both for their selection of cheeses and wine and because she'd rather support a local store "than shop corporate."
And the market definitely does not feel "corporate." Stop in and you're likely to encounter the sounds of classic jazz tunes, and you might even spot Pumpkin, the market's three-year-old black cat. One thing you can't do at Nabila's, though, is get a late night snack — the market is only open from 9am to 9pm daily.
So that's Nabila's, the non-corporate, family-run market on Hayes Street. Next time you're nearby, be sure to stop in and say hello to the friendly face behind the register.