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.