Central Market Poulsbo opened its doors in 1995 as the biggest store in the Town & Country family and the first of what are now three Central Markets, all of them focused on fresh, quality food and variety on a grand scale.
But the company was no stranger to Poulsbo, having opened Viking Mark-It Foods in 1974 at the corner of SR 305 and NE Hostmark Street as its second store after Bainbridge Island. Viking Mark-It Foods, where customers marked prices with black grease pencils and bagged their own groceries, was recreated as Poulsbo Market Place in the mid-1980s eventually outgrew its building and small parking lot.
Building the 69,000-square-foot Central Market a few miles down the road was a unique experiment in creating a “destination food store,” which continues to draw customers from as far south as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge area, west to the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas and throughout Kitsap County. It was also one of the state’s first major commercial buildings to use recycled materials in its construction and was a forerunner for the National Home Builders Association’s “Built Green” program of today.
A major remodel in 2006 expanded the store’s Fish Market, food service and in-store seating. Today the store employs more than 200 full- and part-time employees, is open 24 hours a day and is deeply involved with its community. Central Market Poulsbo houses a branch of Columbia Bank (360.779.9889), the well-staffed Kitsap Pharmacy (360.779.5335) – and Central Café espresso shop. The mezzanine overlooking the entire store has tables and chairs to accommodate more than 60 people, and a deck outside the mezzanine, weather permitting, can hold another 30.
Central’s fresh prepared food options set it apart from the average grocery store. The highlights include:
- Sushi – Independently operated “Sushi Ko,” near the Culinary Resource Center is open 6 am-7 pm. Extensive Party Platter Menu. 360.394.7241
- Salad and Soup Bars – An extensive selection includes a dozen soups daily. The soup bar is stocked 11 am-8 pm, while the salad bar is ready 6 am-9 pm.
- Pizza and Hot Dogs: 10:30 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday and open until 10 pm Friday and Saturday. 360.779.4953.
- Hot Buffet: Mexican-style foods offered daily with other ethnic cuisines often rotating through. The buffet operates from 11 am to 7 pm.
- Kitchen Central: This large “island” is staffed with people and ringed by cases brimming with meal solutions, deli meats and specialty cheeses,. A grill station offers a varied menu, daily specials and custom-made deli sandwiches. Staffed 6 am-9 pm.
- BBQ Central: Menu, hours and phone number on its own page.
- Grab-and-Go Deli Cold Case: Choose from an array of entrees, sides and meals prepackaged in microwavable containers next to the hot buffet – or freshly made sandwiches and salads, along with ethnic cuisine.
- Central Café: Hot breakfast and coffee drinks. Menu, hours and phone number on its own page.
- Tortilla Machine: Watch balls of dough go in this Dr. Seuss-looking machine and come out warm, fresh, traditional and whole-grain tortillas made from Shepherd’s Grain flour –grown, milled and sold here in the Northwest. You can see the tortilla machine in action from 10 am to 5 pm.
- Other amenities include motorized carts, postage stamps, gift cards, FedEx for seafood anywhere in the continental United States, cash machine, dry ice and propane.