Food Markets grow in popularity across Atlanta

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Food Markets grow in popularity across Atlanta

The Southerner

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By Frankie Clarke

Modern markets allow many entrepreneurs to combine forces in creating one big building of love. Whether it be food, clothing, lotions or animal accessories, marketplaces can offer them all. They also provide an outlet for vendors to sell a variety of cuisines, such as a dumpling house right across a hallway from a gyro hut.

Hoping to follow in the footsteps of New York City’s successful Chelsea Market, Atlanta city planners saw an opportunity to create upscale dining and retail community spaces.

One of Atlanta’s more well-known markets, Sweet Auburn Market, opened before Chelsea Market in 1918 after the Great Atlanta fire cleared its plot. For its first six years, the market operated under a tent, but its lively atmosphere and delicious food drew people from all around the South. The Atlanta Woman’s Club then raised enough money to build the brick structure that still houses the market today.

In Sweet Auburn, fresh produce can be found and the smell of crab and fish seems to follow you wherever you go. The 50,000 sq. ft. space houses numerous restaurants, delis, fisheries, and fresh vegetable stands. Bell Street Burritos and the ever-popular Grindhouse Killer Burgers are among the restaurants. The market’s meat section contains three-foot-long pork sausages and two-pound steaks and the veggie section holds various peppers, tomatoes and lettuces.

I enjoyed my visit to Sweet Auburn Market because of its diverse food options and atmosphere. If you are on the search for retail stores, however, this market isn’t for you. Sweet Auburn’s only retail store, a small shop selling only a random assortment of books, posters of African-American leaders, old movies and the occasional Harry Potter DVD, is poorly organized. With this in mind, I recommend visiting the Sweet Auburn Market when you have the craving for a good meal, fresh produce or the desire for a new Malcolm X poster.

Ponce City Market, which recently opened, is still a work in progress. The market currently only features a few shops. While some, like the Goorin Bros. hat shop, are quite unique, it is not yet enough to make the market a must-see. The former Sears Roebuck and Co. building that houses the market has undergone dramatic changes throughout the last century. After serving as a distribution center  for Sears from 1926 to 1987, the building became home to Atlanta’s “City Hall East.” After City Hall East t closed, the building remained abandoned for several years.

In early 2014, the building started undergoing the multi–million dollar constructions to transform the space into a state of the art market. The 60-acre building will soon be the home to many restaurants and retail stores along with housing..

Right now, the market offers various chain-clothing store options such as Frye, Anthropology, and West Elm. Even though I couldn’t even afford a leather luggage tag, the Frye store was one of my favorites. The strong smell of leather that permeated the store was so amazing that it should be made into a perfume.

After walking past the closed food court, I came across the huge outdoor area that houses opened stores as well as some that are still in the works. The store that stuck out to me the most was Goorin Bros. Inside were hundreds of hats of all different materials and styles.

With easy access of the BeltLine, Ponce City Market has the potential to become one of Atlanta’s trademarks. The food court, even though still unfinished, will soon house top-notch eateries and the retail stores will offer upscale goods.

The newly opened Krog Street Market is one of Atlanta’s new hot spots. On the weekends, lines stretch down the street as people queue for the market’s most popular bar, Hop City.

Krog Street was once an old warehouse that fell into disrepair.  Investors raised the money to renovate the warehouse and the market opened in 2014, benefiting the Inman Park community greatly. With the Beltline running right into the market’s doorstep, its location is perfect for walkers and joggers.

Krog Street Market’s eateries are some of the best in Atlanta where the world’s cuisine is at your fingertips. The market serves dumplings from the eatery Gu’s dumplings, falafels from Yala, and barbeque Tex-Mex and tarts from GC BBQ which take you on a trip around the globe under one roof.  

The market’s retail stores include a pet shop, a boutique, a flower shop  and a soap store. In part because I live just a few blocks from Krog Street and due to its large and diverse clientele, the market is one of my favorites.

As a food lover, I think markets are a great way to let different people come together to eat and have fun. While Sweet Auburn Market has a very organic atmosphere, it allows customers to buy the most bizarre items that you won’t find at your local Publix.

After it opens in its entirety, Ponce City Market will be one of the biggest in Atlanta, housing hundreds of stores and residents. This market will hopefully become a lively after-school hang-out for Grady students. Krog Street Market is a cool place for people to hang out and grab good food near the Beltline. With Sweet Auburn Market still thriving, and the addition of the Krog and Ponce markets, Atlanta provides great experiences for its locals.


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