A new mini-supermarket-cafe has opened in Oak Cliff: Berkley's Market, the neighborhood grocery concept founded by entrepreneur Zac Porter, has opened its location in the Bishop Arts District at 634 W Davis St., in the long-vacant Bolsa Mercado space.
The market features supermarket staples, ranging from basic to gourmet, from toilet paper to artisan crackers, plus prepared foods and a wine department & bar. It also contains a coffee shop with espresso drinks, featuring La Colombe beans.
It "softly" opened on June 27 with limited hours from 8 am-4 pm, to slowly get into gear.
Porter first got into supermarkets in 2015 when he, his wife Emily Ray-Porter, and their friend Cullen Potts opened a location of Austin-based Royal Blue Grocery in Highland Park Village. With its street-side patio seating facing Preston Road, it quickly became a favorite destination for Park Cities meet-ups and people watching. Its market-and-coffee-shop combination as well as Porter's attentive daily presence were a smash, helping to spawn a major sidewalk scene at the shopping center.
They subsequently opened two locations in downtown Dallas at The Mercantile building, and in the Arts District at Trammell Crow Center, aiming to add density, vitality, street amenities, and convenience for workers and residents downtown.
In 2021, Porter parted ways with Royal Blue and relaunched as Berkley's Market, affording more freedom to fine-tune their neighborhood focus. He's also opening a Berkley's in the Knox Street neighborhood later in 2022.
Each location is slightly different from the next, tailored for the neighborhood it serves and the people who frequent it every day, but at their other locations, they've become known for their coffee bar & breakfast tacos, along with essential & gourmet groceries, awesome wine selection, lunch counter, and wine bar which Porter says they'll be stocking with more all-day menu options.
The building at 634 W. Davis was originally a body shop, with the original 2,500-square-foot 1920s building in front and a 1,500-square-foot metal shed in back. The building in the rear was converted into a big catering kitchen, making Berkley's, with its hybrid personality of market plus coffee and wine bar, a good fit for what is otherwise an unusual space.
Porter says they're excited to be in Oak Cliff, which they've been working on for nearly three years.
"We love Oak Cliff and Bishop Arts!" he says. "My business partner's parents and my mom grew up in the neighborhood and graduated from Sunset High School, so it feels really good to return with a store where our families have roots."