Family-Run Asian Supermarket Chain Hmart Debuts in Austin
Today marks the debut of Hmart, a family-run supermarket chain specializing in Asian foods and products, in Austin, Texas. The store occupies a 68,670 square foot space near the Lakeline Mall in north Austin, about 20 minutes from downtown. While the chain currently operates locations in Dallas and Houston - this Austin outpost is the first location in Central Texas, and also the first of several new stores opening nationwide to include a food hall concept called “Market Eatery.”
Stacey Kwon, the daughter of Hmart founder and CEO Il Yeon Kwon, is the president of Hmart and all Market Eatery concepts. "We are humbled to be a part of Austin’s unique vibrancy and to be joining the city’s ever-changing culinary landscape. So much hard work and dedication has gone into this project and we are thrilled to finally see our vision come to life,” says Kwon. “At Hmart, we are constantly striving to provide top quality food and service to our guests, and to promote our rich and robust culture. Market Eatery is another step towards achieving our mission.”
Market Eatery aims to be a destination to spend time with family and friends over delicious food and drink, surrounded by culture and entertainment. Each Market Eatery will feature 7 to 10 dining experiences, comprised mostly of local vendors, as well as two concepts from celebrated Korean chef and author Deuki Hong: Sunday BBQ (Korean Barbecue), and his popular San Francisco-based Sunday Bird (Korean Fried Chicken). “I grew up going to Hmart on the weekends,” says Hong. “When I found out I would have the opportunity to bring my concepts there, I jumped at it! I am so happy to be partnering with a brand that has values that truly align with my own—and to be able to share those values with everyone.”
Austinites will be able to enjoy food vendors such as Snow Monster (Taiwanese Shaved Ice, Boba Tea, Waffles), MIX (Korean Snack Food), Momo Sushi (Japanese Sushi), Sogongdong Tofu House (Korean Tofu Soup / Comfort Food), Lai Lai (Authentic Chinese), Katsu (Cutlet, Omelet, Pasta), and Tous Les Jours (Korean bakery). Retail shops include The Face Shop (Korean Cosmetics), Yepoon Beauty Marche (Korean Cosmetics), Cheong Kwan Jang (Korean Red Ginseng Shop), Tori GIft (Gift Shop), Jessica Hair (Salon), and more.
In addition to the Market Eatery food vendors, Hmart has been long celebrated for its selection of quality prepared foods, made using traditional recipes passed down from the Kwon family. Favorites include kimchi (traditional salted and fermented side dish), japchae (stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables), kimbap (traditional rice rolls), and pajeon (savory Korean pancakes).
Market Eatery also sells an assortment of beer, wine, and sake, as well as makgeolli, a traditional Korean rice wine with flavors like peach, banana, and black soybean. Korean plum and raspberry wine are also available. Guests are encouraged to enjoy their drinks, after purchase, at Let Them Talk. Let Them Talk is a no-tip, bar-inspired space which is also home to a live performance stage with regular programming from local artists, and large projectors for movie screenings and sports events. Drink specials such as $1 beers and $10 bottles of wine will be available daily.
Hmart is short for "Han Ah Reum,” which means "One Arm Full of Groceries” in Korean. It started in 1982 as a small corner grocery store in Queens, NY. Today, it is the largest Asian supermarket chain in America, bringing in over 50 million customers a year. There are currently over 60 locations throughout New York, New Jersey, Texas, California, Illinois, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Fifteen more stores are planned for this coming year, with roughly half of them housing Market Eatery food halls. Other cities that may soon have a Market Eatery to call their own include Honolulu, Dallas, New York City, and more.