On my last visit to the Public Market in Barrio Logan, I came away dazzled by the potential of the enterprise and delighted by the plans to expand to daily operations by the summer of 2013. Today I learned that that expansion has been delayed.
But there’s still a lot going on, both at the Main Street site and elsewhere.
I was visiting Barrio Logan with a group organized by the San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association. At the Market, Catt White, one of the two owner/organizers, greeted us. She explained that she and her business partner, Dale Steele have “retooled” their thinking about the best way to develop the 92,000-square-foot complex. For a while, the Market Hall will continue housing a farmer’s markets Wednesdays (11 to 1:30) and Sundays (9 to 2), with the plan still being to expand to permanent vendors and daily operations, but probably not until the spring of next year. In the meantime, White and Steele will be developing other sections of the property.
In a courtyard that adjoins the central hall, several small cottages will be renovated for retail operations: an electric bike vendor, a yoga studio, a bakery, a sandwich shop. One of the cottages also will be earmarked for an resident who’ll be charged with growing vegetables, tending goats and chickens, and composting on an “urban farm lab.”
The partners have begun renting a huge adjoining shed for various events (a sit-down wedding dinner for 40; a Teach America reception for 75), and White says they expect “pop-up” restaurateurs to lease it for a month or two at a time. Nearby, White and Steele will transform former office space into a commercial kitchen that they’ll rent out and use for community educational events.
Apart from the Public Market, the tour included two other memorable food stops. One was the 36,000-square-foot Northgate Market that opened last December. The 37th in a chain of grocery stores started 25 years ago by an Anaheim family named Gonzalez, it’s a bright and lively place with a distinctly Hispanic flavor. Our group whizzed through it, but I want to return for more leisurely inspection. The deli, meat, and produce sections looked particularly enticing.
We paid a quick visit to the Ryan Brothers cafe and roastery across the street, about which I’ve already enthused here. Then we wound up in Chicano Park, whose murals recently have undergone a major renovation. Artist Salvador Torres (one of the park’s leading muralists) was on hand to share some of the history and make a pitch for a cable car to be suspended along the Coronado Bridge (a variation, or so it appeared, on the pedestrian and bike tube idea that’s supposedly being pondered by county officials.)
That sounds like a very cool idea to me. But whether or not it gets built, there’s more and more to visit in the shadow of the bridge.