(CBS) — It was devastating news for customers when their Dominick’s store shut down in Ukrainian Village last year. But Tuesday night that store at 2021 West Chicago Avenue, begins a new life as Mariano’s.

CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports it was a jazzy upbeat start today for the Mariano’s in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

Customers wound their way through heavy crowds all day to grab samples and maybe try out delicacies they’ve never cooked like python, elk, or alligator.

The founder of Mariano’s says Wednesday’s opening also marks a new chapter for neighbors who felt left in the cold when Dominick’s closed here in December.

“People want to come and visit and eat and drink coffee or have a smoothie,” said Mariano’s Founder Bob Mariano.

But while baskets are full at that former Dominick’s site, there is still an empty lot in Evanston Plaza where Dominick’s closed late last year.

“We are missing the people of Dominick’s. We are missing the store being there,” said Evanston resident Dickella Fonda.

She and others living just steps away from the plaza at Dempster and Dodge do have other grocery choices, the Food 4 Less less than a mile away, then there’s Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Jewel/Osco.

“It was very convenient. We didn’t have to drive. It was a really sustainable way of living,” she said Fonda.

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