‘Baby Wegmans’ opening Saturday in Kennett Square featuring all fresh food

FRAN MAYE - The Kennett PaperRay Maxwell stands at his Corner Bistro that opens Saturday, March 26 at the Market at Liberty Place in Kennett Square. He will be offering fresh gourmet foods for dine-in or take out at reasonable prices. All food is prepared fresh daily.

KENNETT SQUARE >> On Saturday, March 26, a “Baby Wegmans” will be coming to the Market at Liberty Place in Kennett Square.

That’s what Master Chef Ray Maxwell is calling his new venture at Chef-a-Topia, Corner Bistro that will feature a wide variety of food prepared fresh daily.

“This is a baby Wegman’s,” Maxwell said. “When I go into Wegman’s it’s so great because all the food is just sitting there. Visuals mean a lot. But the food I am offering is so fresh, it’s a notch above a butcher shop. This has been a dream of mine and I think it’s awesome.”

Maxwell opened Chef-a-Topia about a year ago offering fresh meals to go. But he soon realized his customers wanted to see what they were purchasing, and they wanted a greater variety. Now, customers will be able to either purchase meals to go, or they can eat it there and even pair it with a fine wine from Paradocx Vineyards.

“I will have chef-prepared meals to order, which will include steaks, seafood and even a raw bar featuring four to six types of oysters,” Maxwell said. “And on weekends, there will be shrimp cocktail, lobster cocktail and Asian noodle bowls.”

Maxwell said each day will be a feature a special, discounted meal ready to grab and go.

“It could be prime rib, veal parmesan, or braised beef shank, all hot and ready to eat here, or take home to re-heat. “People can order Panini sandwiches, Cuban Panini, or even a Ruben Panini.”

A fresh salad bar a noodle bar and a raw bar will feature foods made fresh daily and everything can be custom tailored. “If you want a piece of salmon on your salad, I’ll put salmon on the grill,” Maxwell said. “This is the personal touch I was missing. People can pick and choose and build their own menu right here. You can choose what you want, versus having a menu where you are told what you can have.”

Maxwell said his meals will be similar to dining at a fine restaurant, especially if paired with wine. But the difference, he said, is that he has a greater variety of food, and it will be much less expensive.

“I’m going to be the cheap kid on the block,” said Maxwell, an award-winning chef at the Kennett Inn. “My overhead is low, and I can give a very fine dining food is a very casual way. In fact, that’s my slogan - fine dining in a casual way.”

Also new is Sunday brunch featuring French Toast, waffles, personalized omelets, Eggs Benedict and other breakfast specialties.

The Corner Bistro is also offering a fresh line of local cheeses. Maxwell is putting special emphasis on his seafood selection.

“My seafood element will be real good,” he said. “We’ll have steamer clams or mussles and in the summer months we will have crabs. There are so many options to pick and choose. This is 10 times better (than his original eatery).”

Some of his offerings include Bay of Fundy Salmon marinated with herb garlic or teriyaki for $11. Or jumbo Gulf Shrimp skewered with peppers, red onion, zucchini and tomato lightly marinated with garlic and citrus for $12. Or Lancaster County free-range roasted chicken pot pie tossed in rich chicken sauterne sauce topped with buttery pastry for $9.50. Or vegetable lasagna layered with Roma tomatoes, baby spinach, roasted vegetables, ricotta cheese and fresh mozzarella for $8.50. Or Chesapeake Crab Cake featuring jumbo lump crab cakes served with citrus Buerre Blanc sauce for $17. Or Asian Ginger Shrimp served over jasmine Rice and Asian vegetables for $12. Or Barbecue pork baby back ribs dry rubbed and fruit wood smoked for $9. All meals feature a wide variety of side dishes that can be mixed and matched. All meals can be paired with select wines.

Chef-a-topia is one of nine merchants located in The Liberty Place at Kennett Square. Located at 148 West State St in downtown Kennett, The Market at Liberty Place is an upscale farmers market with a mix of freshly prepared foods, grocery items, wine, and much more. In addition to Chef-a-topia, The Market at Liberty Place is home to Nourish Juice Bar & Café, Buddy’s Burgers, Yo’R So Sweet, State St Pizza & Grill, Terra Foods, a gourmet pasta & olive purveyor, Punk’d Pineapple, a soft ice cream shop, Sweet Magnolia Bakery, and Paradocx Vineyard. KebaBurritos, a Mexiterranean Grill, will be opening in May.

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