I’ve been exploring downtown Los Angeles for over 20 years now and have always enjoyed visiting the Grand Central Market on Broadway. Next year, the market will be celebrating its 100th year in continuous operation. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the Grand Central Market offers a variety of food vendors and grocers that has been rapidly changing since the resurgence of downtown Los Angeles. After my recent media visit to the market to kick off their “Summer Nights” program, I can now say the place rivals, New York City’s famed Chelsea Market. It’s that good and that much fun for all including families, Millennials, Hipsters and working professionals.
The “Summer Nights” media event gave us the opportunity to visit a variety of the food vendors to sample existing and new menu items that will be served during the markets extended hours this summer. The market will now stay open nightly until 10PM. The 19 participating vendors for the media event included the old guard standards such as La Tostaderia, Sticky Rice and Sarita’s Pupuseria along with newer regime vendors including Belcampo Meat Co., Berlin Currywurst, Bombo, Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market, Horse Thief BBQ, Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria, Valerie Confections Bakery and Café, Madcapra, McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream and more…….
I attended the event with my 11 year old son, Roman who had a great time. A typical finicky eating pre-teen, he ended up sampling food that he wouldn’t normally try. His favorites included the Peppercorn Steak and Pork Sirloin at Belcampo. In addition, he loved the curry sausage served at Berlin Currywurst. The owner was behind the counter and they talked about European Football while I plotted what food vendor we would hit next. As a Mark Peel fan from his Campanile and La Brea Bakery days, his Bombo does not disappoint. We dove into his fried chicken special served with downtown fried potatoes, cucumber yogurt dressing and a pickle garnish. Roman accompanied that special with an order of Sticky Rice’s Thai BBQ Chicken. Afterwards, we headed over to the Knead and Co. for a generous portion of a smokey roasted pepper Paccheri with Bolognese. The pasta dish was served with bread, arugula salad and a handcrafted soda. It was a very generous meal. Navigating the aisles of the market, we found ourselves at Santa Barbara based McConnell’s Ice Cream for double scoops of Vanilla and Strawberry ice cream and an extraordinary flavor called Eureka Lemon and Marionberries. The food eating portion of our evening closed out with one more dessert stop at Valerie Confections Bakery and Cafe. The confectionary offering for media attendees was a dish of peaches with an almond crumble, mint and a dollop of crème fraiche. It was absolutely delicious.
Afterwards, both father and son were full, exhausted and ready to go. We conveniently were able to walk across the street from the market and catch the Metro at the Pershing Square Station. For us, the Purple Line took us to the Wilshire/Western Station where we grabbed an Uber ride home and told our Vietnamese driver about the Grand Central Market. His response was maybe I’ll open a Pho stand there one day. Only in America.
Summer Nights Schedule is as follows:
Monday-Friday | 6:00 - 7:00pm: LA's Biggest Happy Hour! For the first time ever, vendors across the Market will join together for the biggest, most eclectic Happy Hour anywhere.
Tuesdays | 8:00pm: Trivia Tuesdays! The first and third Tuesday of the month, team up to test your knowledge and vie for fun prizes.
Wednesdays | 8:00pm: Outdoor movie screenings on the Horse Thief BBQ Patio! Every Wednesday cozy up on the patio with BBQ & drinks to watch the best Texan flicks.
June 8: Dazed and Confused (Directed by Richard Linklater)
June 15: Slacker (Directed by Richard Linklater)
June 22: Bottle Rocket (Directed by Wes Anderson)
June 29: The Last Picture Show (Directed by Peter Bogdanovich)
July 6: El Mariachi (Directed by Robert Rodriguez)
July 13: Urban Cowboy (Directed by James Bridges)
Thursdays | 6:00 - 10:00pm: The Market's ongoing Game Night gets even better with Drag Queen Bingo: Live! every first and third Thursday of the month at 8PM starting June 16th! Show off your inner queen as your slay and sashay your way across the Bingo card.
Fridays | 7:30 - 9:30pm: Cutting-edge DJs will create a soundscape to get the weekend started
Saturdays | 8 - 8:45pm & 9 - 9:45pm: Live at GCM showcases live sets with up-and-coming singer/songwriters and indie bands in a series curated by concert producer Gia Hughes.
June 11: David Ryan Harris
Sundays | 7:30 - 9:30pm: Sunday Soirees will feature a surprising mix of artists including jazz, Latin, roots and World Music ensembles. The wildly popular trio Alma y Alma will kickstart the series on June 5th with a month-long residency!
June 5: Alma y Alma
June 12: Alma y Alma
June 19: Alma y Alma
June 26: Alma y Alma
For more information, visit http://www.grandcentralmarket.com The Grand Central Market is located at 317 S. Broadway, LA, CA 90013. Phone: (213) 624-2378