Mary’s Market to open at Anderson Japanese Gardens

From press release

Anderson Japanese Gardens, consistently ranked one of the finest Japanese gardens in the world, and Mary’s Market, one of the first fast-casual restaurants in the country and known in our area for its excellent food and service, are partnering to open the fourth Mary’s Market Café and the premier event venue in northern Illinois inside Anderson Japanese Gardens Visitor Center in early May 2011.

“Mary’s Market is a signature Rockford-area eatery,” said John Anderson, founder of the Gardens. “I have known Bryan Suh, of Mary’s Market, for more than 20 years. I am confident that Bryan and his team will maintain their high standards of excellent customer service and fine food quality that will be expected by our garden guests.”

To accommodate the expansion for Mary’s Market, the restaurant, gift shop and garden operations have temporarily closed. The construction process will begin immediately, and is expected to take all winter and into early spring.

When the Visitor’s Center reopens in early May 2011, it will feature an expanded dining area that will seat up to 200 for breakfast, lunch and special events, a new bar serving area for events, a comfortable soft seating area for garden visitors to rest before and after tours, an expanded kitchen to better serve café and special event guests simultaneously, and a Mary’s Market-style service counter.

This new Mary’s Market location will offer the same full line of baked goods and specialty gourmet foods as served in its three current cafés.

“I am appreciative of our outstanding staff and the reputation they have established for quality food and service,” Anderson said. “However, managing a restaurant greatly reduces our resources that need to be focused on the operation of the garden.

“For 33 years, it has been my passion to create a tranquil garden environment where our guests can find healing, renewal, inspiration and hopefully, a re-energized soul,” Anderson added. “Outsourcing our food service operations allows our organization to focus on our core strength, which is creating and maintaining a world-class botanical garden while allowing Mary’s Market to focus on their core strength, which is delighting their guests with excellent food and service.”

Suh of Mary’s Market said: “We can’t think of a more beautiful venue in the Rockford region to hold a special event. We will bring our wholesome, authentic and healthy cuisine to the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of the garden to create an exceptional experience at a great value.”

Mary’s Market was founded in 1982. Anderson Japanese Gardens serves more than 40,000 visitors annually from each state in the country and from more than 35 countries around the world. The garden was founded in 1978.

From the Dec. 22-28, 2010 issue

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