Friday, October 10, 2014

meh.. The (new) Market

So far, so lame.
At least from an urban pedestrian who lives 1.6 miles away perspective. This morning, unlike most mornings, we drove to the new Market on Fremont Street. Yes, right now, for the time being, we are car-sitting for a relative- that story is irrelevant here.

My expectations are not sky high for the new Market, as one could safely assume, the products will be “high end” and the prices will be set to preclude their intended target demographic.

However, I am incredibly eager for the promise of Stumptown Coffee Co. , right here in our desert. Originating in Portland, Oregon, quickly expanding to Seattle and beyond, Stumptown are famous in the world of coffee bean sourcing and roasting. The proof is in the pour. I promise, one cup of Stumptown, whatever your favorite coffee beverage is, and you will become a believer.

Anyhow, we are excited to finally get some of the coveted juice here in Las Vegas.

Along with the coffee bar and fresh sandwich cafe, is the promise of growler fills. A growler is a 64 oz container used to transport draft beer. Very popular in other parts of the country, still mostly just a beer-guy thing in our valley.

My immediate concern on this mornings visit to the new grocery is,
“Where should we park?”

As if downtown (Las Vegas) were not already famed for inadequate parking, nowadays every space on every block and every lot is pay-to-park. New Las Vegas transplants from far and wide accept paying hourly to park their vehicle as normal and everyday behavior. They were broken by their masters long before they moved here.

OK. I’ll play along.

We have Las Vegas’ first grocery store that charges for parking.

I have heard people complaining about the complexity of the new parking meters. To be honest, I thought this was a little silly. “Come on”, I thought. “”It’s not that hard.”

I take it back. The NEW new parking meter boxes have an even more convoluted concept that prevents any person parking from using leftover minutes on the meter. You G-D-Mother-F-ers!


Your tax dollars at work, Fry Man.

After a couple of minutes and attempts, we figure out HOW to pay for the freaking parking.

Upon entry into the market, I think to myself, “Oh geez, I bet a greeting is about to be hurled my way.” Without fail, here it comes. “Hi. Hello. Good morning.”

Before we even get our sunglasses off of our faces, Hillary has breezed right past nearly the entire produce department without so much as a glance. This indicates to me that they are going to need better presentation in that department. It may not often seem like it, but there is a science and art to displaying produce departments in appetizing ways that make you want to buy.

Onward to the coffee and beer! We meander over to the east side of the market where the services are located. After posting up in front of the counter for a minute, taking in the menu and all else to see, we notice a little sign that says “Coming Soon” blah blah blah “Stumptown”.

Right behind the vacant barista counter, we see the beer taps also with a sign which reads: “Coming Soon” blah blah blah “Growler Fills”.

OK. Well, the two things we came for are not here. Let’s look around at the rest of the market.

Spacious and predictable. A few small coolers featuring a limited selection of craft ales and ciders, an equally curated wine collection and mostly higher end, “all natural” and organic products line the aisles. Products that typically make up a small department in a major chain grocery store basically fill the entire Market. So, you can imagine, it does look very nice. There are many essentials that one does struggle to find in or around the single digit street neighborhoods- frozen veggies, potatoes and entrees for example.

I wanted to buy something from The Market this morning, just on G.P. (general principle), yet I could not find a single item that I could actually justify purchasing because I needed it in my kitchen. There were a couple of items, but like half of the store, there were no prices on them.

Sorry, but I am not going to be that sucker. I am not going to bring a 6 pack to the register and hope for the best, but most likely say “Hell No, I’m not paying $__.__ for a six pack of _____!” Or worse still, actually pay the exorbitant price simply because I already brought it to the register and prefer to save face. No sir. No thank you.

Maybe a breakfast sandwich from the counter then?

Whoops. Now there is crowd of 8 or so people at the counter (who have not seemed to order and no person is preparing anything at the moment), so we decide to pursue another option.

A brief conversation of timeliness, our location and time left on the parking meter leads us to O Face Doughnuts.
Two savory breakfast doughnuts and an iced coffee to go, please.

The newly remodeled John E Carson hotel is a real achievement for the highly publicized, often scrutinized, Downtown Project. It stands as a premier example of redefining the downtown landscape while maintaining some historical integrity.

That is another story, however, and today we’re talking about The Market.

Market, I just have to be honest, you have let me down.

#1-WHY be on Fremont Street ? Next to a tavern/entertainment district no less? Grocery stores struggle to maintain a small profit margin and must operate in volume in order to be successful. A more accessible location, yet still downtown, must have been available for a venture of this proportion.

#2- Paying to park. I have been to San Francisco and many other cities where parking is a privilege for the few and even in those “real cities” a person is allowed to park their car at the grocery store where they are shopping. They are quick to tow you if you are abusing their lots but the store itself (usually) allows for parking.

#3- The Market is open yet not ready to be open. Unfortunately, your two big lures that got me in the door, are not yet available. Hopes dashed.

#4- Where are the prices? Products that are not priced lead me to believe that they are “over-priced”.

#5- The Name?!? For an organization that allegedly has a “Director of Imagination”, they don’t display much creativity. “Downtown Container Park”, “Eat”, “Place on 7th” and now “The Market”. Take out your smartphone and ask it to find you anything regarding “The Market” and see how helpful it is.

#6- No Brussels Sprouts. OK, now I am nit-picking. I’m just saying. Frozen brussels sprouts. That’s all.

It is 1.5 miles from my house to Smith’s on Rancho and Charleston. It is 1.6 miles from my house to The Market (on Fremont Street).

What do you have that I actually need?

On the plus side, The Market appears to be a great lunch alternative for any persons who work in the immediate downtown area.

The Market is also be a tremendous addition for guests staying at El Cortez (or Cabana Suites).

I will return when the place is fully up and running, but for the foreseeable future, I will remain a regular at White Cross Market and Su Salud es Primero (Salvadorean bodega on Main Street).

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