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Downtown lunch standard Gourmet Store sets closing date

The Gourmet Store, a popular Olympic Towers breakfast and lunch spot for 26 years, is closing.

Known for a roster of distinctive offerings like its Contradiction Chili and a gong that greeted new customers, the restaurant will close July 28.

Owner Martin Safford-Cameron said he was being evicted from his spot in the office building's lobby. He's looking at it as an opportunity for new challenges, he said. "The Dumpster full of lemons on my plaza is about to be a hell of a lemonade party, as far as I'm concerned. I got sugar."

Safford-Cameron has operated the restaurant since 2001, after buying it from Gino and Diana Principe, who operate the Mansion on Delaware. Its downtown office worker clientele was drawn to its lineup of salads, sandwiches and soups, bolstered by a dependable lineup of weekly specials such as Friday mac and cheese. Its Contradiction Chili, which starts sweet and finishes spicy, will be available until 2 p.m. July 28, he said.

He's making plans to continue the catering side of the business, he said, but is otherwise not sure what his food service future holds. "Out of the trenches, off and running, here comes the phoenix."

Gourmet Store offers a warm welcome

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