downtown los angeles, historic core

Downtown LA Grand Central Market: New Food Stalls Now Open, More to Come

LA's oldest operating market since 1917 is in the midst of getting some much needed reinvestment in the form of new food vendors and market amenities

Grand Central Market is LA’s oldest operating market since 1917 and is in the midst of getting some much needed reinvestment in the form of new food vendors and market amenities complementing the most successful original food concepts

Last December, some really exciting plans were revealed that the owners of the Grand Central Market — Downtown LA’s continuously operating historic market/food court since 1917 — were preparing to make some exciting (and much needed) changes and upgrades to one of LA’s most unique historical gems. Over the last half century, Grand Central Market gradually lost relevancy as a result of Downtown LA’s own urban decay due to the ill effects of suburban flight. However, now with almost 40,000 new residents who have moved into downtown over the last decade, billions of reinvestment dollars have begun pouring back into the city center, collectively, and Grand Central Market is no exception.

As part of the new plan to upgrade Grand Central Market, the first new food stall opened in mid-April called Sticky Rice. The Thai street food vendor, located in the central portion of the market, was started by Soi 7 owner David Teasart and chef Johnny Lee (Rivera, Flying Pig). Then with a slight lull in May, another two new food stalls just opened earlier this month in June: G&B Coffee and Valerie at Grand Central.

G&B Coffee, started by former Intelligentsia VP of Strategy, Kyle Glanville, and former lead trainer at the Venice location Charles Babinski (hence the “G&B” name), serves up espresso and filtered coffee along its beautiful 30-foot long bar fronting Hill Street on the western edge of the market.

Valerie at Grand Central is a new second location for Valerie Confections, which is based in Silver Lake not far from downtown. Valerie Gordon and her partner Stan Weightman Jr. have converted the former MF Gourmet bakery stall at Grand Central into a classic lunch counter serving up their renowned pastries and desserts (carried at Dean & Deluca) along with classic sandwiches and salads.

Horse Thief, which open later this month, brings Texas-style BBQ to Grand Central Market’s only outdoor patio section along Hill Street just across from the foot of the historic Angels Flight funicular railway. Started by two Texans, Wade McElroy and Russell Malixi, Horse Thief will serve up everything you’d expect from Texas-style BBQ including smoked brisket, spare ribs, and chicken.

Upcoming new food stalls within the next few months include DTLA Cheese, a new cheese shop from Claremont, CA called Cheese Cave; a higher end oyster bar called Oyster Gourmet that will be near G&B Coffee; and a possible organic produce vendor near Sticky Rice.

At 27,000 square feet with 45 food stalls, Grand Central Market has the potential to become an incubator for some of LA’s hottest and tastiest new food concepts. Like an artist living in once-affordable lofts who spend more time creating avant-garde art than worrying about the rent, Grand Central Market could become the aspiring chef’s launching pad to focus on creating interesting food instead of worrying about the head-ache and logistics of running a full-on restaurant.

Sticky Rice

Sticky Rice brings authentic Thai street food to Grand Central Market

Sticky Rice brings authentic Thai street food to Grand Central Market

The menu is simple (three items) and delicious

The menu is simple (three items) and delicious

G&B Coffee

G&B Coffee near Hill Street entrance

G&B Coffee next to the Hill Street entrance with a 30-foot long bar

G&B Coffee in Downtown LA

Coffee includes Ritual Coffee, Heart Roaster, and 49th Parallel

Valerie at Grand Central Market

The second location for Silver Lake's Valerie Confections

Valerie at Grand Central Market is a classic lunch counter version of Valerie Confections from Silver Lake

Valerie Confections' handmade preserves

Valerie Confections’ handmade preserves

Horse Thief

Horse Thief Texas-style BBQ will open later this month in the outside patio section of the Grand Central Market

Horse Thief Texas-style BBQ will open later this month in the outside patio section of the Grand Central Market

31 Comments

  1. This is such great news. When I moved here in 2010 I was so surprised when I discoverd this lovely landmark. And now its really looking, feeling and tasting so much better.

  2. Clark says

    I’ve been to G&B Coffee a couple of times and am thrilled. Will try Valerie today (tried on Saturday but they’re not open weekends right now). The folks at G&B are so nice and pleasant and the pastries they have are delicious. So great to have someplace for a croissant and coffee in the morning in there – it’s just too bad they don’t open until 9am!
    Hopefully with more vendors coming the hours will extend through dinner time soon.

    • Clark says

      I’ve heard C&B opens at 7am! Great to hear. Apparently You have to enter from Hill Street, not Broadway at that hour. I hope they clean their Broadway garage door windows since people have written in the thick grime. Be clean-be successful!

      • brudy says

        Yes, G&B opens at 7. Only one of the doors is open right in the front. These guys really know what they’re doing – and their bottled cold brew is incredible.

    • Brandon says

      Not only is Valerie not open on weekends, but they close at 4PM during the week as well. This is what they told me about their schedule on Facebook:

      “We’re in the process of opening a 3rd location, in Echo Park. That store will be open Wed.-Sunday. Once both new locations are running smoothly (!), we’ll be reviewing the hours at GCM, and hope to be open on weekends before the end of the summer.”

      So I guess we will wait and see, but I am not holding my breath as it seems a bit non committal to me. On the other hand maybe they will see the light, Valerie’s counter was full of patrons eating other vendors food last Saturday afternoon.

  3. Elan says

    Tried G&B Coffee and loved it! Loved the fact that it was a bar- people were just hanging around drinking coffee. Will try Valerie soon. I’ve walked by Sticky Rice probably six times recently and haven’t seen anybody eating there. It’s a little worrying, no? I hope the landlords gave all these first movers a good rent deal so they don’t go out of business before Grand Central Market has a critical mass of high-quality stalls…

    • Wynn says

      Hey Elan, I’ve been there three times and have been impressed every time. I’ve had the hainan chicken, beef curry and gai yang (grilled chicken) and all were very tasty. I’m surprised it was quiet when you went. Every time I’ve been they’ve been busy.

    • Andrew W. says

      Huh? It was busy when I was there last Thursday. Try the Hainan chicken.

  4. Ryan says

    Despite the huge boom downtown I still wonder if the market can take additional saturation of these sorts of places… look at the failure of CoffeeBar, which was in a much more busy and hip location.

    • Robert says

      Size is everything. Coffeebar was great, but it was just too big for just a coffee bar. If they had a proper kitchen, they could have easily turned it into a bistro.

    • brudy says

      I don’t believe Coffeebar actually failed. It was profitable from what I’ve heard. It just wasn’t growing as fast as the owners wanted. The owners are more bar people (they also own 6th St Tavern and King Eddys) so they opted to switch it to a bar.

    • Mayra says

      I agree! I think it would add more color and attract more visitors. It should probably go on Broadway! Great idea Sebastian!

  5. Mayra says

    How exciting! So glad to read about another great coffee location in DTLA!

  6. Antonette DeVito says

    Hooray for these upgrades. Just don’t get too too-too, if you know what I mean. A lot of GCM shoppers really do need bargain-priced foods.

  7. Carter says

    Had an espresso there this afternoon around 4pm, and there were probably around 10 people grabbing some kind of coffee beverage. quite good for that time of day, having been open for not quite two weeks.
    The cold brew coffee seemed like the beverage of choice

  8. archie says

    Re: Sebastian: Agreed, some good signage on dreary Broadway entrance could liven up the Market. Not everyone knows it’s there. I’ve always been saying that Figaro needs some exciting signage. You could pass right by and not notice it. Sadly, many times I’ve checked Figaro, like 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, they have only a few tables. I think the interior lighting is a problem there too. It is bad. Not flattering like the glowing lighting at always packed Bottega Louie. Figaro’s too big. Not cozy like Vermont bistro. Do they do well at lunch? I like the place but for God’s sake, get some exciting signage on Broadway. Sad to see the Coffee Bar go so quickly.

  9. Coffee Bar didn’t really … ‘go’; the same owners are just morphing it into a much broader venue more suitable for an intersection that is busy until 2 AM.

  10. New food stalls are great but would also love to see a really good butcher like Huntington Meats at the Farmer’s Market. Also a good fish seller. Don’t want to have to go to the warehouse district or Glendale just to get fresh fish.

  11. Brad says

    I hope we get something in there for vegetarians other than produce stalls! Was a little disappointed that Sticky Rice had nothing for us.

    • brudy says

      I was bummed at first as well, but they now offer a green veggie curry that’s vegetarian.

  12. Jake Wegmann says

    I went to Sticky Rice a couple of months ago when I was on a trip to LA, and it was just awesome. Plus, the guys working there were super friendly and helpful.

  13. raymond3000 says

    I read somewhere that possibly Lindy & Grundy were looking to move to a space in Grand Central & a fish market too (upscale)! Stay tuned its amazing how it’s all happening b4 our own eyes.

  14. No Lindy and Grundy. I asked them recently. They did a walk through, but if they open another location, it will be on the West side.

  15. Jake says

    sticky rice is fantastic! affordable, quick & friendly. but the coffee bar has a lot of space – too much – for what they’re doing. i’m curious whether that’s sustainable.

    as long as tacos tumbras a tomas, las morelianas, and the persian place don’t move, i’m happy :)

  16. Just wondering! says

    Sticky rice is delicious, Valerie is okay, and the G B coffee joint is odd – no women customers! Just the same boys in the same blue plaid shirts, brown shoes, cuffed jeans, identical haircuts and eyeglasses. Are these props so we’ll think it’s trendy? Not trendy at all, pretty exclusive in favor of boys only.

    • brudy says

      Having been there many times over the last few weeks, that’s not true at all.

      • Just wondering! says

        Yes it is true. I walk by there every day. Yes, there is an occasional woman there but it’s mostly a hang-out for boys in their almost identical perfect preppy outfits — as if they were posing for a magazine shoot.

  17. DTdweller says

    I’ve been to G&B twice and couldn’t be more impressed by the high quality of the product, the attention to detail, and the impeccable customer service. They clearly care about what they do and enjoy discussing their craft with those who “geek out” over coffee. Just Wondering’s comment is quite bizarre…I’ve seen several women there, not in plaid shirts or eyeglasses either. I am male and perhaps somewhat trendy, but certainly not a “prop.” I just appreciate a first class product.

  18. Harry says

    I’m a city employee working class guy and I noticed the same thing about G&B–seems to be a Trendy Male hangout where regular guys like me
    and women are out of place.

  19. Tohnia Miller says

    Tohnia – Looks amazing, I have been gone for too long (5 months), Missed the opening, coming back soon and can’t wait to experience it.

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