The views while driving the route along Mill Street in Salisbury (which just so happens to be the third most heavily traversed area in the City of Salisbury next to Route 13 and Route 50) has been somewhat lackluster for the past few years. While Downtown Salisbury has come a long way in terms of economic viability and aesthetic appeal, the west end of the downtown strip has sat idly, waiting for the chance to be brought back to its former grandeur. Part of the problem has been the 19th-century building that once housed Feldman’s Furniture Store but has sat empty for the past few years. Let’s admit it, the historic building had become a bit of an eyesore, but with its stunning renovations almost complete and three local businesses primed to move in by summer, Riverview Commons is poised to bring another shot of life to Downtown Salisbury.

One of the businesses that are eager to soon call Riverview Commons home is the Acorn Market. For those of you who are familiar with Acorn Market, you already know them for their ever-popular boxed lunches, their fresh options, and their uber-friendly staff. If you’re not familiar with the charming Salisbury lunch spot, you will be soon, as they are gearing up for their big move to the ground floor of Riverview Commons. We sat down with owner Christine Braughler last week to discuss all the delicious details about their upcoming move from their current location (behind The Country House) to Downtown Salisbury. While it’s bittersweet to be relocating after eight wonderful years in their current, cozy spot, Braughler and her fiancé/co-owner Nick Colletti couldn’t be more thrilled about the opportunity. “Brad Gillis asked us if we would be interested and of course we were just honored,” Braughler explained, noting that while they hadn’t been looking to move, the opportunity to be an active part of the project was simply too good to pass up. “We’re really excited and we’re ready for the change,” she added. “Change is growth and what better time to be taking part in the revitalization of Downtown Salisbury!”

The Acorn Market will be located in the ground floor of the renovated three-story, historic building. Sharing the first floor of the building will be Angello’s Unique Gifts, which will serve as a perfect complement to Acorn Market, offering diners and shoppers with an eclectic selection of gifts for every occasion.

One of the biggest amenities that the loyal Acorn Market customers will enjoy at the new location is space – in fact, Braughler pointed out that they would be increasing their size from roughly 800 square feet to 3300 square feet. In addition to allowing for more tables and seating for their customers, the increase will also allow them to expand their menu and tackle some of the culinary projects they’ve been day dreaming about for years. First up…breakfast! “We’re going to be implementing breakfast, so the addition of the breakfast menu itself will be huge,” said Braughler, adding that breakfast was something they had envisioned for several years, but with a small kitchen space, it just never seemed feasible. With breakfast will come plenty of coffee, including a full coffee bar and the Acorn Market’s very own signature coffee.

The Acorn Market will still be serving lunch of course, bringing along many of their signature items like their boxed lunch. Some of the signature specials that currently live on the ‘specials menu’ will become a fixed part of the menu at the new location. According to Braughler, customers can also expect their specials menu to expand thanks to the increase in kitchen space. “It’s going to allow us to step out and be more creative with our specials,” she said, noting that they would also be able to make more of their customers’ favorites, like their famous chicken salad. In fact, the chicken salad and a variety of other salads and cold items will be available for grab-and-go in a refrigerator section of the restaurant.

Catering services will still be a major component at Acorn Market, along with the added bonus of event space. Braughler plans on being open Monday through Saturday, 7am until 3pm. By closing at 3pm, Acorn Market will be available for hosting meetings and events after hours. Another exciting amenity (and perhaps our favorite) is the river-view outdoor seating. The porch at their current location has always been beloved by customers, so the outdoor component served as another obvious selling point for Braughler and Colletti. For the most part, customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, said Braughler, who was blown away by the 700-plus likes their Facebook announcement garnered. “The buzz has actually increased our sales because the customers who didn’t already know about us want to know what’s coming and what to expect downtown. We’ve always been the local lunch spot and that’s what we will continue to be.”

Between the increase in space and the opportunity to join in the downtown revitalization, Braughler and Colletti are eager for the big move, which is tentatively set for the end of May. If you’ve never had the pleasure of dining at Acorn Market, expect plenty of fresh, healthy options, including soups, salads and sandwiches. We’re anxiously awaiting our first taste of Acorn Market’s breakfast, but we’re also eager to see the restaurant space once it’s completed. Braughler described the interior and the décor as eclectic, offering us a sneak peak of some of the designs. “The customers are definitely going to enjoy the atmosphere and the energy,” said Braughler.

As for the rest of Riverview Commons, Angello’s Unique Gifts has plans to move in this May as well. The second and third floors of the building have been converted into office space, and will house the Morgan Stanley and Gillis-Gilkerson offices. Developer Palmer Gillis gave us a tour of the soon-to-be-completed building, providing a brief history of the brick structure that has come full circle in the Gillis family. The three-story brick building is known to most area residents as the former Feldman’s Furniture store, but the building actually dates back to around 1880-90 when it was occupied by B.L. Gillis & Sons, wholesale grocers. The building remained in the Gillis family until 1923 when the property was transferred to Samuel S. and William Feldman, who built what would become one of the largest furniture stores in the region. A few years ago, Gillis and his son Brad decided to bring the building back into the family fold, purchasing the dilapidated building and renaming it Riverview Commons.

Many, many changes have taken place during the course of renovations, including downsizing from nearly 60,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet, and leaving only the original structure that was built in 1888 by the Gillis family. “I think it has a huge impact [on Downtown Salisbury] because it’s the first major project on the west end,” said Gillis, pointing out the positive impact the renovated building would have on the view from Mill Street. In addition to the drastic improvement that the building renovations have on the area’s curb appeal, the section along the river has also been cleaned up, providing more space for outdoor seating as well as a walkway along the river that will link to the city’s Riverwalk. Gillis plans to turn that area over to the city once the project is complete.

With the homestretch finally in sight for Riverview Commons and its occupants, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll be making our return visit to see Braughler and Colletti for breakfast and to catch a first look at the finished product (along with a little retail therapy next door at Angello’s). In the meantime, follow The Acorn Market on Facebook for the latest updates on their move…and for those delicious daily specials that they are still churning out of their E. Main Street location behind The Country House!