At first mention, DTLA’s Grand Central Market’s name might be enough to pique your interest : it’s grand (a whopping 30,000 sq. feet), and central (-ish: because nothing can really be central in a megalopolis like the City of Angels). Most Angelenos I talk to have no idea that it even exists. That’s easy to believe, because despite its impressive square footage, GCM is easy to miss. Chances are, you’ve driven down Broadway a thousand times and never noticed it (ten times, if you live on the Westside). In addition to those suggested by its moniker, there are many more, less apparent qualities that should make this urban gem your next dining destination. If you are anything like me, you will find yourself going back to this open-air food bazaar again and again….and again. Wondering if you and I are kindred dining spirits? The answer lies below.
1. I like eating at the bar.
GCM has bar-eating options aplenty. I prefer to cut out the middle man, sit where the action is, and chow down.
2. I prefer to be overwhelmed with dining options.
Thai food? Mexican food? Chinese food? Grass-fed burger? Egg dishes of loose morals? Bratwurst? Coffee? Pastries? Cold-pressed juice? Pizza? GCM has me covered. It also helps with the classic “I thought I wanted a juice but I realized I wanted a burger” scenario (This happens to me. A lot).
Sticky Rice’s Papaya Salad: they do it right
Egg Slut’s the Slut: you know you want it…and it definitely wants you.
Blood Orange and Vanilla Cream tart from Valerie: pretty pastry perfection
The organic, grass-fed Belcampo burger with beef-tallow fries: Mr. Ketchup’s face says it all
3. I like peppers.
Valeria’s: one-stop pepper shop
4. I eat meat, and I like to feel good about eating it.
I tried vegetarianism – it didn’t work out. I decided that the next best thing is to eat meat that has been humanely and sustainably raised. That usually means I need to put my money where my mouth is and pay a little more. In the case of the ultra-awesome Belcampo Meat Co., I don’t mind one bit. They have some of the most beautiful, tasty meat I have ever had the pleasure of devouring. These guys are everything I could possibly hope for in a butcher shop – they raise their animals on their own farm and butcher their meat by hand, in their own processing facility. Please take a moment to look at their website to learn more about them. I also have gladly pronounced their burger my new Favorite Burger in LA (eaten at the bar, ‘natch). Do yourself a favor and get an order of their spicy fried broccolini to balance out the meat intake while you are there – it’s the best thing a piece of broccolini could ever aspire to be.
Belcampo Butchers giving good service
5. Sometimes, I miss New York.
I’m a LA girl through and through, but every so often I feel a pang of longing for my favorite city on the opposite coast (worth noting: this never happens anytime during December-March). No, there is no substitute for the feeling of walking the streets of NYC. But, GCM has a fantastic city vibe that is very contrary to the non-urban experience that many areas of LA can be. It’s a little gritty, it’s not solely filled with white people, and it’s old (built in 1917 – ancient by LA standards). Situated in the ground floor of the Homer Laughlin Building, its walls are filled with LA history, such as housing Frank Lloyd Wright’s office space in the 20’s. There is a ton to see/eat/do within walking distance (yes- walking!!). You can even grab a bagel, lox, and cream cheese at Wexler’s Deli and pretend you are at Katz’s (it’s a stretch, but work with me). Like The Big Apple, GCM is ever-evolving. New vendors are announced regularly, and word on the street is that we might even have some NYC chef transplants in our midst here soon.
So, if you have found that you like to eat all kinds of delicious food while basking in urban vibes like me, head down to GCM ASAP. There is even free garage parking, which is so rare in downtown that you might as well go just for that experience. (The downside – its only an hour, and validation can be trickier than assembling a desk from Ikea.) One of my main gripes about GCM is their hours – 8am- 6pm, which makes it REALLY hard for the under-65 crowd to have dinner. Well, as of July 3rd, the market will now be open until 9pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Rejoice, my darling Angelenos, your warm summer nights just got a WHOLE lot tastier.
Grand Central Market : 317 S. Broadway. LA, CA 90013