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Yum Market

You may have noticed a funny smiling sign while heading down Valencia Street just as you hit Market. The smiling sign actually spells "Yum," which is a unique specialty food store located at 1750 Market Street. Opened in November of 2000, owner Paul Frohlich has created a space that is bright, cheery and begs to be explored.

Unlike many gourmet stores you may have visited, Yum is open, light, airy and thoroughly unpretentious. As a result it has become a real destination for locals who bring in friends and family. The store is broken into what Frohlich calls "lands," as in snackland, bakingland, etc. Playful touches seem to reinforce the pleasure inherent in the name Yum; a sleek chrome medicine cabinet houses a precious collection of vinegars and essences, a wall of rainbow soda bottles frames the front counter and the staff greets everyone with a gracious offer of a beverage.

Designed for whom Frohlich calls "everybody who can't wait to open up the Wednesday Chronicle food section" Yum is filled with products that have each ended up on the shelves for good reason. Walking through the store the staff can tell you all about the selections and frequently offer up impromptu tastings. While the store doesn't carry cookbooks for sale, they do offer some as reference material for the shopper who needs to look something up on the fly.

Intended more as a place to find ingredients than as a gift store, Yum stocks everything from the newest and most exotic jams and jellies to that tea you had at a restaurant and haven't been able to find anywhere else.Yum does carry a fair number of products that would make a terrific hostess gift or fill a gourmet basket. And if you are looking for something obscure like organic vegetable shortening, Venezuelan single source origin chocolate, marshmallow fluff or that peanut butter mentioned in Saveur magazine, this is the place to call. As an added incentive, Yum offers a frequent shoppers program that gives 2% back to customers at year-end.

The back of the store is dominated by what must be one of the largest collections of bottled soda pop. Over 130 varieties of soda sum up Yum's philosophy towards food--at any price range you can have something you can indulge in, something high quality, something fun--something that speaks to you personally. Or as they say at Yum, "have you played with your food today?"