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FIRST LOOK: Liberty Public Market

It's not Pike Place. It's not the Ferry Building. But it's the same idea.

By Troy Johnson | Photography by Paul Body

The concept has been the albatross of San Diego for years. Why can’t we have a big public space with multiple food merchants, selling quality local foodstuff in a static location? Basically a permanent farmers market of sorts. Like Pike Place in Seattle. Or Ferry Building in San Francisco. It’s been tried in the past, by good, progressive people. Passionate food people. And it failed.

But Liberty Public Market seems destined to pull it off for multiple reasons. First, owner/creator Blue Bridge Hospitality has ample capital behind them. Second, the long-sleepy Liberty Station complex is now almost completely alive; Stone’s arrival helped turn it into a real destination. Third, it’s a a one-stop shop. A 25,000 square-foot hive of micro-businesses where 27 different vendors (some success stories from San Diego’s farmers markets making their first brick-and-mortar, some imports) will serve the public wine, cheese, meat, coffee, bread, olive oils, po boys, lobster rolls, craft beer, ice cream, pastas, Mexican food, Thai food, sweets, you name it.

At the front is Mess Hall, the signature restaurant on the property with executive chef Tim Kolanko. The restaurant will take the best and freshest from the market vendors each day and build around it. They will use the space for San Diego chefs to come in and do pop-up dinners. It’s set to be a sort of R&D laboratory for local cooks and chefs.

Outside, a 3,000 square-foot lawn. Dogs welcome. Sunlight present. Craft beers aplenty.

It officially opens today, March 21. Go kick all 27 tires. And enjoy our “First Look” images below. And for a full list of vendors, visit the market’s website here.

FIRST LOOK: Liberty Public Market

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