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New Jersey-based Korean American grocery chain H Mart set to open at the edge of Oceanview

Photo: Google Street View
By Jay Barmann - Published on April 08, 2021.

At long last, after about an 18-month delay, popular Korean American grocer H Mart is opening its first San Francisco location in OceanView Village at a near-term date still to be announced. But as the Chronicle reported Thursday, the company has begun hiring, signaling that the opening is approaching soon.

The store takes over a 42,000-square-foot space at 3995 Alemany Boulevard formerly occupied by the much-maligned Oceanview Supermarket, which closed in 2013, and prior to that a short-lived location of Albertson’s from 2002 to 2006. As The Frisc noted in 2019, the OceanView Village complex sits in a bit of an island zone at the edge of the Oceanview, Ingleside Heights, and Merced Heights neighborhoods, bordered by freeways on two sides.

The coming of H Mart was first reported by Hoodline in 2018, and the New Jersey-based company already has two locations in San Jose, among 90 nationwide. The store is known for affordable groceries as well as Asian staples and specialty items and Korean-leaning prepared foods. Originally set to open in late 2019, that was delayed, and then delayed again by the pandemic, and now it looks like it could be open sometime in May or June.

The first location of H Mart, originally called Han Ah Reum (which translates to “an armful of groceries”), opened in New York City in 1982, in the Queens neighborhood of Woodside.

Michelle Zauner wrote of H Mart in The New Yorker in 2018, “H Mart is where parachute kids go to get the exact brand of instant noodles that reminds them of home. It’s where Korean families buy rice cakes to make tteokguk, a beef soup that brings in the new year. It’s the only place where you can find a giant vat of peeled garlic, because it’s the only place that truly understands how much garlic you’ll need for the kind of food your people eat.”

The project was spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, which had been trying to recruit an appropriate tenant for the space for years.

Stay tuned for more definitive word on an opening date.

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