Grand Central Market
I am obsessed with the period of American history from the 1920s through the 1940s. I often feel that they quality of those years were enriched by the American Forward Movement which effected all aspects of lifestyle. I often feel that there will never be anything comparable. The architecture, fashion, and over all culture was rich with class and quality. I have stumbled around many beautiful buildings in Los Angeles that were built during that period, and find it very depressing that today those who live in Los Angeles often de-value property, buildings, and historical landmarks that once made up this magnificent era and replace them with homogenized buildings with absolutely no character. Grand Central Theatre and Market are some of those beautiful historic landmarks that have withstood the test of time in Los Angeles, and preserved the city’s beauty and functionality. Grand Central Market is perfect, and if you live in the Los Angeles area and you have never been, well you are missing out. To many Grand Central Market is just a historic as the Hollywood sign and a place your are much more likely to frequent.
Grand Central Market opened in 1917 and has been in continuous operation since. For those counting at home that’s almost a hundred years ago, when Broadway was the principal commercial and entertainment corridor of downtown Los Angeles. Bunker Hill, to the west, was covered with stately Victorian mansions, and the area’s stylish residents rode down on Angels Flight to shop for groceries in the Market’s open air arcade.The Market has always reflected the changing population of downtown, and in the 1920s the ninety-plus vendors included multiple green grocers, fishmongers, Jewish delis, and butchers, as well as stalls for dry goods, baked goods, flowers, coffee, cheese, notions—and even one vendor who sold nothing but eggs. DTLA has been evolving ever since, and the Market has continued to evolve with it. In 1984, downtown visionary Ira Yellin, a successful developer with an academic interest in urban planning and historical preservation, bought Grand Central Market and adjacent properties including the Million Dollar Theater, as well as the landmark Bradbury Building across the street. Ira passed away in 2002, but today Adele Yellin continues to champion his vision that a dynamic city needs a vibrant downtown.
Grand Central Markets is a great food destination and a historic landmark all wrapped in one. Its also a functional market for those who need grocery essentials, it serves many in the DTLA community as their local market. Vendors include:
- Belcampo Meat Company – Afull-service butcher shop presenting organic, grass-fed meats that have been raised on a 10,000 acre ranch near Mount Shasta and custom-butchered in house serving prepared food, including grilled meats, roasts, and stews.
- DTLA Cheese – Downtown’s first full-service cheese mongers. Domestic and imported cheese plates, griddle sandwiches and seasonal salads, as well as California craft beers and wines by the glass.
- Grand Central Liquor– Literally the most grand liquor store with an open sidewalk. This Liquor store has everything you would imagine finding at a full-service liquor store.
- La Casa Verde, Sun’s Produce, and Torres Produce – All are individually owned and offer market goers large selections of seasonal fruit and vegetables.
- Valeria’s – A Latin dry goods stand, offering an extensive selection of dried chilies, spices, and beans, as well as fresh moles, New Mexico pine nuts, dried bacalao, and canned specialties. It is a wonderful sight to see.
- La Huerta– A Grand Central Market attraction for the kids with the largest selection of candy dried fruit, and nuts. I stopped here to get licorice, dulce candy apples, and pistachios.
- Chili Secos-Similar to Valeria’s yet so different. Offering a Latin grocery selection of imported moles, dried beans, rice, nuts, grains, and other specialty products.
If rather than grocery shopping, you are coming to Grand Central Market to fill your belly, then you have also come to the right spot. The best part is that no one will leave GCM unsatisfied. There’s literally something for everyone, even the pickiest eaters will find something they love. The melting pot of cultural cuisine is a bit overwhelming so you will definitely have to narrow it down to one or two things to choose as your meal.
Here is full a list of the wonderful attractions for prepared food at Grand Central Market, but below that is the list of places Food Flaunt favors.
- Ana Maria-This is in the center of Grand Central Market; you cannot miss the long line. Essentially this is the tacos to go attraction, but when you walk up to their menu, and see all the wonderful sights through the glass your mouth will be watering for more than just tacos. Their gorditas with carnitas are unbelievable, some of the best I have had in Los Angeles, and their portions are huge. It is packed with flavor, seasoning, cheese, beans, lettuce, marinated tomatoes, and best of all it’s very affordable.
- China Café– This is an iconic stall at Grand Central Market. China Café is never empty. You can believe that whenever you roll up the counter top seats will be filled. The iconic Market stall, known for their famous wonton soup, chow mein, and egg FO Yeung is some of the best classic Chinese food you will find anywhere in SoCal. I even ordered an extra dish of chicken fried rice to go, and ate it happily the next day. China Café is a must visit at Grand Central Market.
- EggSlut– The incredible edible egg with a gourmet concept. Eggslut has one of the largest stalls at GCM, known for their sandwiches, long lines and hip chefs, Jeff Vales and Alvin Cailan. The menu is a balance of comfort and innovation, celebrating food that appeals to both novice and extreme foodie through classic comfort fare with a twist, all-encompassing the key ingredient, eggs. Eggslut is absolutely a food destination for all egg lovers that will have you craving and wanting more. Eggslut is a modern day addition to GCM, but I believe do to the quality of their food and word of mouth about this stall that has brought new foodies to GCM today.
- Olio GCM Wood Fired Pizzeria– Their individual sized artisanal wood-fired pizzas and focaccia salads are simply unforgettable. This is another staple of the new Grand Central Market, taste why people have been raving about their classic Margherita with Tomato sauce, fresh local mozzarella, California extra virgin olive oil, and fresh basil.
- Wexler’s Deli– A new-traditional Jewish deli from noted Los Angeles chef Micah Wexler. Wexler’s Deli stands for three things: tradition, craftsmanship, and quality. Wexler’s uses old-school methods to hand craft their pastrami and smoked salmon. After curing in a special blend of salt and spices, their meats and fish are slowly smoked in house over apple wood and sliced by hand in front of your eyes. My mother in law from NY, who knows a good Reuben when she sees one, said “Their Ruben may be the best I have ever had”- high praise coming from a woman whose east coast culinary opinion matters. Wexler’s pickles are perfect, they are barrel fermented in salt brine and will have you jealously eyeing your neighbors when you finish yours.