Irvine Ranch Market taking over Hershey’s Market on Balboa Island… Again!

The rumors have been flying about “what’s next” for the beloved Hershey’s Market on Balboa Island since it closed last year.  The market was across the street from the fire station, across from Wilma’s, and diagonal from the Village Inn.

Today, we have an answer for you: the Irvine Ranch Market is going to be opening their doors at the location, starting this summer!

The new location MAY have a salad bar (please, please, please have the salad bar!), and will have fresh sushi ready to go.

But there is a bit more history than some may remember here, too– I got the scoop from Sheri, owner of the local favorite Wilma’s, great for any meal, but famous for their breakfast and brunch.  Sheri gave me the history of the market for as far back as she can remember.

Many moons ago, the market was run as a bit of a co-op, with an individual person running the market, produce, alcohol, and grocery section.  As people began to age-out of running the individual sections, the market became somewhat unstable, and guess who took it over?

If you guessed the Irvine Ranch Market, you’d be correct!  They ran it very well for many years, but eventually sold it to a northern California produce company (the company who invented bagged salads!).

This new owner sold fantastic fresh produce, but for some reason it just didn’t “click” with the locals.

Eventually, it became the 7-11-style market that was there most recently.  When the building was purchased, many new options were floated– including yet another restaurant in the tight quarters of many other restaurants– but eventually, an old friend arrived at the table, and the Irvine Ranch Market will now be returning to the beloved Hershey’s location on Balboa Island.

If you haven’t been to the Irvine Ranch Market at their current location by the golf course, you are really missing out on both their salad bars and their sushi– go give it a try so you can get excited about it coming to our area! 🙂

Irvine Ranch Market is set to take over the entire space (not just half, as rumored), and we look forward to having a grocery store return to the Island, making it a walkable (or bikable, or golfcartable) place to live and work, sans-automobile.

Balboa Peninsula had a market near the Fun Zone, but that was sold in a crony deal to the city about 13 years ago, and was immediately torn down to build a parking lot, immediately destroying the “small town feel” of the area.  I am glad that Balboa Island was able to find a spot for their market– something that has been sorely missed!



About Mike Glenn

Mike is the founder and publisher of Save Newport and Chair of Government Relations for the Elks Lodge. He writes, shoots photos, and edits, but much of the time, he's just "the IT guy". He can be reached at: Google+, Facebook, or via email, at