Liberty Public Market features more than 30 artisanal vendors that were curated to offer the best of San Diego fare .
Public Market is located at Liberty Station , a community center that also hosts art and picnic spaces .
“ I think the current generation is looking for more variety , That kind of variety of convenience is delivered in the food hall experience .”
— MIKE DINORSCIA , CEO AT GRAIN & GRIT COLLECTIVE
THIS PAGE : COURTESY OF LIBERTY STATION
LIBERTY PUBLIC MARKET Liberty Station welcomed its first Navy recruits in 1923 , when it was known as the Naval Training Center . In 2000 , the city of San Diego gained ownership of the property and transformed it into a community center that hosts art and picnic spaces and , as of 2016 , Liberty Public Market — a collection of more than 30 artisanal vendors curated to offer the best of San Diego fare .
“ The idea of Liberty Public Market came from my travels to other great markets in cities that I spent time in ,” Spatafore says . “ Philadelphia ’ s Reading Terminal Market may have been one of my favorite spots in the country .”
Blue Bridge Hospitality paid homage to the past through thoughtful design — much of the Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture and its influences remain — and clever inclusions such as the Mess Hall Bar , which serves up craft cocktails , beer and wine in the hall ’ s main dining room . Adjacent to the Mess Hall Bar is Bottlecraft , which adds to the venue ’ s adult beverage offerings with a list of 24 rotating craft beers on tap and 500 bottles of the best and hard to find brews .
Other popular vendors include Wicked Maine Lobster , which serves up buttery lobster rolls and lobster mac n cheese that can easily be shared among hungry friends . Paraná Empanadas Argentinas , named after the Argentinian city , specializes in authentic , mouthwatering empanadas best paired with the shop ’ s chimichurri and
followed by a sweet , dulce de leche-filled alfajor .
“ Selecting vendors was fun , but tough ,” Spatafore admits . Since opening a few years ago , the market has introduced a number of new concepts to its initial lineup . Many of the stalls come from food trucks or farmers market booths . “ We wanted to offer small , local operators a chance to get in the spotlight , where Liberty Public Market would be their first ‘ big stage .’ We also wanted a wide variety of products and offerings to limit duplication . We did not want chains or ‘ expansion concepts ’ either .”
Among Spatafore ’ s favorites are the French pastries from Le Parfait Paris . When enjoying a more savory meal , he suggests , “ Wash it down with an IPA from Bottlecraft in the market ’ s main mess hall .”
Visitors and locals alike can also enjoy events , like live music on the dog-friendly main patio on Sundays from 1-3 p . m ., free themed trivia nights and beer bingo nights . The location inside Liberty Station also puts the food hall in close proximity to other restaurants , a variety of shops and art galleries , and even health- and wellness-focused businesses like Pilates and yoga studios .
“ Liberty Public Market is unique due to its large size and great variety of choices , from artisan baked goods and Thai food to gourmet tacos and Peruvian cuisine ,” Spatafore explains . “ Also , the market has plenty of free parking available — which is unique for most markets around the world . Add in craft beer and fish tacos , and you are San Diego set .”
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