Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Market

The Star noted today that the City Market will re-open in its revamped form on June 15th. The Market has been open in one form or another for 100 years. The center of the Market closed at the first of the year for its refurnishing.

The new plan involves taking the Market back to its roots, so to speak. Instead of simply being a quick service lunch spot it will feature fresh produce and meats. The Star noted that it will have the following new tenants: Moody Meats, Ruby's Sweet Treasures, Abbott Candy, Corks Marketplace, and Welch's Florists. The majority of the quick service lunch spots will return. Notably the Barking Dog Cafe, a popular spot for its New England Clam Chowder, will not return.

I meet the Market's new plans with a little skepticism. For one the Market has changed its ideas several times in the last few years. A couple of years ago the leadership at the Market decided that it would open a culinary school. In doing so it ended its lease with Muggins, a popular grease pit on second floor of the East wing. There wasn't a better hamburger or tenderloin than at Muggins, and its departure left a void for those who needed their grease fix. The culinary school never came to pass and the space sat empty until recently when the current tenants were moved to the second floor during the renovation. Second, the Market tried this theory before when it required its tenants to have a side retail space. The Market went so far as ending its relationship with one Chinese restaurant in favor of another that would commit to the idea. At my count four places got on board with the idea. Today none have the retail space as they did previously.

I believe that the Market is well positioned for growth. Residential development is growing downtown and the MSA spot will eventually be developed. That should provide more foot traffic to the Market then it currently has. But for the Market to truly pull people to the East side of downtown it will need a uniqueness not found of late. Most of the lunch food at the Market is of the type easily obtained on other sides of downtown. I don't see many compelling reasons for folks expect those who work on the East side of downtown to visit the Market. The new tenants will help in that regard but people can get those products on their way home to the burbs.

I think there are other ideas the Market should consider for new tenants. I would love to see a co-op between the Indiana wineries set up shop at the Market. Or perhaps a co-op between the Indiana microbreweries would work. Both would show off some of the uniqueness of our State and would be the type of attractions sought out by visitors to the city. I have also never found it difficult to find good red meat in any of the grocery stores in the city. Fresh seafood is an exception. If the Market had a seafood shop again I think I would be more apt to purchase from it then a butcher. A bakery would also be welcome. The Market would be well served in signing up either Chez Jean or Scholar's Inn, both local, to set up shop there. Neither would would need to bake the bread at the Market as both have local facilities to do so.

Most great cities seem to have a great Market. I sincerely hope that the city's investment pays off and that the City Market becomes the kind of place you want to take friends when they visit our city.


Blogger lemming said...

(pines for Faneuil Hall in Boston...)

March 28, 2007  
Blogger Timmy said...

I miss the West Side Market in Cleveland, it is everything that you have described and more!

Too bad Indy wont ever have something that awesome.

March 28, 2007  
Blogger torporindy said...

I guess Jumbo's is returning.

March 28, 2007  
Blogger Butchieboy said...

I hope they put in a Jack in the Box.

March 29, 2007  
Blogger Mike said...

where'd you hear about Jumbo's?

March 30, 2007  
Blogger torporindy said...

I saw it in one of the Star's articles. They could be wrong though.

March 30, 2007  
Blogger Brick said...

Jumbo's serves the worst chili in the city.

March 31, 2007  
Blogger The_Kid_ said...

I know you are kidding Butchie but I would kill for a Jack in the Box in Indy. Deep fried Tacos are the heat.

March 31, 2007  

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