Lina’s Italian Market expands in Calgary

Fourth location offers a full slate of authentic Italian groceries and dining options
Lina's Italian Market calgary
Photography courtesy Lina's Italian Market

Specialty grocery chain Lina’s Italian Market has opened the doors to its fourth location in Calgary. The 15,000-sq.-ft. store, called Lina’s Italian Piazza, is located in Atlantic Avenue Art Block Building in the city’s vibrant, historic Inglewood neighbourhood. 

The store features a wide range of imported Italian groceries, an artisanal bakery, gelato, and fresh grab-and-go meals, a LavAzza Organic Tierra Café and a pizzeria. There’s also a full-service restaurant called Sapore, where diners can enjoy antipasti, pasta, secondi and sides, as well as breakfast and brunch items. The new location also features a prosciutto bar sponsored by Italian brand Leoncini, and offers catering services for all occasions. 

“[The Lina’s concept] is not traditional grocery,” says Matthew Rai, general manager of Lina’s Italian Market. “We’re entertainment. When you come into the store, you get the smells, the sounds, and the hustle and bustle of a busy market. On the weekends, the music is turned up, people are chatting, and the restaurants are full. So, we really cater to everyone and all walks of life.” 

Lina's Italian Market  calgary
Photography courtesy Lina's Italian Market

Now in its 30th year, Lina’s Italian Market was founded by Lina Castle in 1993. The original Centre Street market is still going strong today. Castle eventually sold the business to the Creative Restaurant Group, which then sold it to Joe Dand, a local entrepreneur and Canadian Tire franchise owner, in 2018.

“Following that, we injected some capital into [the business] and fixed up our original location that’s turning 30,” says Rai. “During the pandemic we were fortunate to have an opportunity to open new stores [Lina’s Italian Supermercato and Lina’s Italian Mercato] and now we’re onto our fourth location.” 

In terms of what’s next for Lina’s Rai, says expansion plans are in the works, including a food hall concept in Calgary. “It will be more focused on food and education than groceries,” says Rai. With all of Lina’s locations, Rai adds: “It’s fun being part of the community and providing a space where people can gather and share.” 

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