People in North Park on Thursday afternoons are in for a serious treat. While you absolutely could go to stock up on fresh produce, seafood, cured meats and then some, the new North Park Thursday Market is a bit different. It's meant to be a social experience, too.
This community hub places emphasis on a diverse selection of delicious prepared foods to eat at the market or order to-go, if cooking dinner at home isn't on the agenda. Local favorites include New Orleans specialties from Gumbo Pot, Indian food from Masala Kitchen, Gourmet Tamales, Don Tommy's Mexican Food, healthy eats from Farm to Fresh and many more options. Pair your plate with cold brew coffee on nitro, flavored water, fresh pressed juice or even a shockingly tasty artisan probiotic soda.
Whatever you do, be sure to save room for sampling artisan foods like the soaked-overnight raw oats from Mush that may revolutionize breakfast, or even splurge on a stick from The Cake Pop Shop. Of course, a rotating selection of handicrafts, clothes and household goods are also offered.
But unlike many area farmers markets, guests also will have a chance to rub elbows with the vibrant neighborhood's best chefs who are equally thrilled about Thursdays. The ribbon cutting on opening day March 24 read like a who's who of trendsetting chefs. Many have planned menu items featuring ingredients sourced directly from the market like West Coast Tavern's vegetarian plate and Waypoint Public's panzanella salad.
"I'm excited about the new market because it's awesome and close by and will really tap into the vibrancy of the heart of North Park," said Chef Matt Gordon of Urban Solace. Grodon is one of the many chefs breaking from the kitchen to perform cooking demonstrations at the market.
On opening day, crowds gathered around Chef Hanis Cavin of Carnitas Snack Shack who challenged himself to make a gorgeous salad sourced only from market ingredients, which he then topped with pork belly croutons (because: carnitas).
The next in line to show off skills in the demo booth are Chef Anthony Pasquale of Saiko Sushi (April 7) and Chef Rich Sweeney of Waypoint Public (April 14). Sweeney told us how amazing it is to have the market in such a convenient location. "The freshest vegetables for my menu are right outside my door," he said.
The market features more than 65 vendors spread across two blocks, but there is room for expansion. North Park Thursday Market happens weekly from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at North Park Way and 30th Street, conveniently adjacent to the North Park Parking Garage.
Katie Dillon is a lifestyle and travel writer who believes that one of the best ways to explore a city is through its food and drinks. Follow her adventures on social media at @lajollamom and send any tasty ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.