What ever I tell you about the North Market it won’t be enough. I have been there in the past, and always loved it. I’m jealous of my husband who works only a few blocks away and could venture out to this smorgasbord of flavor to get a different type of meal whenever he desires. So, when I was offered a tour of the North Market I decided to go for it.
The North Market is a public market on Spruce Street, just a few blocks north of Nationwide Arena. It is filled with merchants, in individual market stalls. Kind of an indoor open air market. Dave Wilbe, the executive director of North Market gave us a brief background of the North Market and a tour of the building. Dave is very personable and seemed to be a go to kind of guy that all the market owners and workers would call out to and let know they needed something, or had something nice to share with him.
The North Market started as one of four public markets of Columbus that started 133 years ago and is the only one still surviving. In 1948, the first building burned down and they were moved to a Quonset hut. A board was formed to protect and promote the vision of the North Market and in 1992, the North Market was moved to it’s current placement in downtown Columbus. North Market is a not for profit organization, the property is owned by the city and it is staffed by four people who run its daily operations. As we walked around, and Dave talked about the different shops, you could see how unique each shop is. Also most of the shops source locally, in other words, most of the foods are from the local Ohio area. That’s not to say that there aren’t exotics, because there are plenty of choices there also. One of my favorite things about the North Market is that you can find plenty of organic, fair trade, artisan, handmade, homemade and specialty items. They also have really cool names for all of the shops, in fact, at the main entrance is a wall that holds individual cards for each shop with a description of the stall and it’s owner(s).
- Hania’s Olde World Cuisine – one of the owners Hubert Wilamowski came out with a blueberry pierogie in a cream sauce that was absolutely divine. He makes his own pierogies and developed this and the cream sauce himself.
- The Pasteria has lots of fresh and dried pasta, plus pasta dishes to nosh. I asked about lasagna noodles, they had fresh sheets, which was great, so much faster and delicious too.
- The Greener Grocer - had a lot of organic, local produce and grocery store goods – including figs (read it and weep Deb), grains, milk, fruit and vegetables. They had some purple carrots with a dressing that was delicious to sample. I went back and bought figs, raspberries, milk and faro. Some of it for my Thanksgiving recipes, and others because I coveted them (figs and faro)
- There are so many ethnic eateries. Italian, Polish, Vietnamese, Greek, Cajun (I know it’s not ethnic, but it’s there), Indian and Thai – were all represented.
- Many startups – Many businesses start out at the North Market – because the quality of the goods is so wonderful they get national press. Jeni’s ice cream and Bubbles both are here and have been on morning shows.
- Dispatch Kitchen – Robin Davis films her cooking show for the Dispatch there, plus they have cooking classes and a chef series . I want to do this, it’s in my plan. If I can get my husband to go to some classes that would be wonderful.
- There were non food items, wine, fresh local meat, fish, Belgian waffles and Pizza. This is a go to place on your way home as well as dinner pick up or eat in place. Stop at Mozart’s for dessert, we did. Finish the table setting with fresh bread and flowers.
The North Market is a hustle bustle, happenin’ place. Upstairs is the dining area with tables and chairs. What we found really cool is that you can look down into a lot of the shops and see them make pizza, cut meat, and prepare food. It gives you a birdseye view and was fun to watch. By the way – Dave says there’s wifi. You could spend the day there. Farm market time is on Saturday morning and continues until the farmers don’t have any more to bring in. Plus they have events like the Ladies of the Market Cookie exchange December 3rd, and the Craft Extravaganza on December 5th and 6th. Last week, there was a leather show there.
If you are in the area as a tourist, you should make the North Market your dinner destination. Seriously, if you are at COSI, the Art Museum, visiting the Statehouse, you can get here easily. If you work downtown, you are missing out by not stopping by. Want fresh not frozen meat for dinner that hasn’t travelled 200 miles, come to the North Market. What’s it missing? It doesn’t have Hungarian Kolbas (though I suggested it should) and I couldn’t find a whole nutmeg, but I was able to complete the list I brought along otherwise. Visit North Market, you’ll fall in foodie love.
By the way – there are so many things I didn’t mention that I loved. Go to their website and browse around, it’s pretty darn cool.
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