Don’t let the narrow one-way parking lot dissuade you from venturing into Rife’s Market, situated on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Grandview. Though the hand-painted signs out front are admittedly nothing fancy, Rife’s beckons the growling belly with the tall red letters heralding their Indiana melons, shell beans, and homegrown tomatoes. Before you’ve even entered the store, you can peruse the open air bins outside filled to brimming with Hilliard sweet corn (yellow, bi, or white), fresh peaches that give gently to the touch, and firm green beans begging to be lightly steamed and sprinkled with parmesan.
Once you step inside, you’ll quickly notice that Rife’s possesses a strange and compelling dichotomy. Have you stumbled into a permanent, year-round farmers’ market stand with a deli case? Did you mistakenly enter a gas station convenience store? Rest your inquiring mind and just enjoy it for what it is. The front half of the store contains all the fresh produce, much of it local and labeled as such. Moving further back, you’ll find the dairy case and deli selections. Rumored to have some of the best meat in Columbus, it’s worth a stop to see what they’re offering that day.
The convenience store feel comes from the back half of the store, which contains the dry food shelves. Here you can stock up on certain pantry essentials, but don’t expect to do a full week’s grocery shopping. Rife’s is definitely not as predictable as the big chains, and it’s a refreshing change of pace whatever your final conclusions. You may find a larger selection at Giant Eagle or Krogers, but why not support the local economy and enjoy some of the Ohio products available at Rife’s?
Stop in soon and try some of these local products peppered throughout the store:
• Cooper’s Mills jams and jellies from Bucyrus, OH in any fruit flavors you can dream up, including blackberry, bumbleberry, red raspberry, and dandelion jelly
• Willow Park oven, grill, and dipping sauces in unique flavor combinations such as Apple Brown Sugar BBQ and Pineapple Oven and Grill Sauce
• Smoked and fresh kielbasa from Stanley’s Market in North Toledo
• Johnson’s Real Ice Cream from Bexley
• Pure Ohio maple syrup from Greenford, OH
• Amish chocolates and salted butter
• Green Star Farm Markets Kettle Corn
• Mrs. Miller’s old fashioned noodles from Fredericksburg
• All natural, wine-based Vino de Milo pasta sauces
• Jose Madrid salsas such as raspberry BBQ chipotle, strawberry, garden fresh cilantro, and black bean corn poblano