Downtown has always been a place where you go; it’s more geared toward visitors than residents. Many people live in the city, but there aren’t a lot of practical amenities for those people. I used to live in the Heartside neighborhood, just south of the city. It was great because I could walk everywhere—hockey games, restaurants, local parks—and not have to worry about parking. But if I ran out of milk or eggs, I had to drive at least ten minutes to the local grocery store.
In my time living downtown, I heard so many rumors about a potential market opening up. I got my hopes up and kept my fingers crossed that, someday soon, there would be a place where I could get everything I needed to cook dinner without having to get in my car.
Wouldn’t you know it, soon after I moved out of the city, the Downtown Market opened .2 miles from my old apartment.
Granted, the Downtown Market isn’t anything like your local Meijer or Spartan store. Taken at face value, the Downtown Market is a large space that has “stalls” available; restaurants and vendors can rent space and open shop. It’s a collection of all things gourmet, high-end, and delicious. Three main aisle ways give you access to a bakery, a cupcakery, a fishmonger, a butcher, and much more.
A lot of the places that rent stalls are one-of-a-kind places that are new and local. It’s a good place for starter restaurants and stores to try their ideas on a smaller scale instead of risking an entire building for themselves.
Last year for my wedding anniversary, my husband and I went to the Downtown Market for a smorgasbord of all our favorite things. We sat at the bar in [Aperitivo](http://www.aperitivogr.com/Aperitivo/Welcome.html), a cheese/charcuterie/wine shop/restaurant. We ordered a glass of wine and a meat and cheese board. Then my husband walked over to [Fish Lads](http://fishlads.com/), a fishmonger a couple of stalls down, and ordered some oysters, which later were brought over to us. When we devoured all that, we walked down the middle aisle for a scoop of [Love’s](http://lovesicecream.com/about-us/) hand-crafted ice cream. The Downtown Market is like having all of your favorite foods in one place.
Photo Credit: [Mlive](mlive.com)
And now that is absolutely true because Detroit’s famous [Slow’s Bar-B-Q](http://slowsbarbq.com/grand-rapids) has just opened in there as well. Whenever we venture to Detroit, we cannot stop ourselves from visiting Slow’s. We are barbeque lovers, and while Grand Rapids does have some delightful smoked meats if you know where to look (check out [Dallas Deli](http://www.dallasdeli.net/) and [The Pit Stop](http://pitstopcateringgr.com/)), now we can share some of what we love about Detroit with our fellow Grand Rapidians.
I came down to the Downtown Market today to scope out the line for
Slow’s. It just opened a week ago, and as I suspected, there was already a crowd waiting to try the Market’s latest and greatest.
That wasn’t a problem, though, because there were plenty of new places I hadn’t yet tried. I could try a sweet or savory crepe from [Penelope’s Creperie](http://www.penelopescreperie.com/) or a baked potato from [Blue Spoon Soup & Spuds](http://www.goodwillgr.org/goodwill-catering-services/). I settled on [Sushi Maki](http://downtownmarketgr.com/market-hall/sushi-maki) because they had an awesome lunch deal and because I’m always in the mood for raw fish.
No matter what you’re craving, Downtown Market has it. And in the end, it’s a good thing it came when it did, because I would probably be broke if I could walk there anytime there I wanted.
*For more information about the Downtown Market, visit their [website](http://downtownmarketgr.com/).*