Rene Becker opened Hi-Rise in 1996 with a crew of six, big ideas, and a simple goal: to make staple homey foods better than home-made. He started with bread — using organic wheat, rye, and corn from independent mills — and soon moved to pastries, encorporating extra-rich European-style butter and local fruits for pies and tarts. Naturally, soups and sandwiches came next utilizing the same philosophy of house made and hand selected ingredients.
The trend continued over the years and now Hi-Rise has a long list of products made daily including breads, cakes, cookies, granola, preserves, and crackers. Along with a wide variety of sandwiches, Hi-rise offers dinners sold fresh and frozen, from pot pies and stews to lasagnas with house-made pasta.
Hi-Rise remains faithful to the goal of making simple food very well. Now it’s very much a family business, comprised of Rene, his spouse Cynthia, and their daughter Lucie, all of whom are seen most days at Hi-Rise or around the Observatory Hill neighborhood where they live.
The Hi-Rise wine selection is curated by owner Rene Becker, who has been involved in the wine trade for more than 30 years. Rene travels and tastes constantly. The wines on the rack and in the bins are ready to be enjoyed now. In that respect the Hi-Rise selection is more like a restaurant wine list than a normal package store. Of course, Hi-Rise wines are much less expensive than they would be at a restaurant. In fact Rene takes care to offer wines that represent especially good value. Hi-Rise also offers an equally well-curated selection of whiskeys, gins, and rum, along with other interesting liqueurs including a variety of amaros.