As the opening of San Diego's hotly anticipated Liberty Public Market edges ever closer, (we hear it's slated for the mid-February mark), Eater will be running a series of posts designed to introduce readers - in a little more depth - to several of the merchants who will be filling the halls at this exciting and versatile new marketplace. So here, in this first installment, get the scoop on everything you need to know about 1950s style butcher shop, Liberty Meat Shop, family-run firm Paraná Empanadas, and Greg Majors' intimate wine bar, Grape Smuggler.
Developed from family recipes and made using all natural ingredients, Paraná Empanadas have become a farmer's market staple around San Diego. Founded by the Landman family in 2015, their soon-to-be opened outpost at Liberty Public Market marks the company's first brick and mortar location where daughter Lucia will manage day to day operations. "By connecting our Argentinian ancestry with our passion we hope to transport customers to Argentina, bite by bite".
What To Expect: Authentic Argentinian empanadas with creative fillings in a cozy, counter-serve setting -- one of the smallest food spaces at the market, customers will be able to watch salads and sauces being prepared, as well as empanadas going in and out of the oven, through a glass dividing wall. Paraná's Signature: With 12-15 flavors on the menu, absolute customer favorites are the chicken chipotle empanada, and traditional Argentine beef with green olives and roasted red bell pepper. For sweets its the dulce de leche alfajor shortbread cookie sandwich. Price Point: Ranging in price from $2.60/1 to $25/1 all empanadas are served with four homemade sauces(-chimichurri, creamy celery, spicy tomato and chipotle chimichurri. Specials: A daily lunch deal, in addition to a Tuesday special when you can get 15 empanadas for the price of a dozen. Look out for weekly dessert specials and rotating seasonal sides too.
Operated under the direction of seasoned wine pro and Blue Bridge Hospitality beverage director Greg Majors, Grape Smuggler will offer an intimate wine bar setting with a cellar boasting approximately 500 bottles of wine and 300 varietals from around the world. Currently overseeing an impressive wine collection at Stake Chophouse & Bar, Majors aims to make Grape Smuggler a destination for industry professionals, wine lovers and enthusiast alike with intimate tastings and educational components.
What To Expect: The 800-square foot space will have room for eight in addition to a 14-seat communal table. Wines: The hand-picked selection will include some seasonal options like spring release rosé and fall release Burgundy, with the majority of inventory available year round. Currently tasting through a large amount of wine from Valle de Guadeloupe expect to see some 'Baja gems' in the lineup. Top Picks: Three standout wines for Majors include Huber Lamy, Les Tremblets, Puligney-Montrachet, 2013; Camille Giroud, Combe Au Moine Gevrey-Chambertin, 2007; and Corison, Kronos, Napa Valley, 1996 -- which he says offer a great juxtaposition against more obscure growing areas like the Canary Islands and lesser known regions of Spain, Italy and Austria. Bites: Small plate items from various market vendors. Specials: A daily by-the-glass special will be featured, regional and industry tastings, plus a selection poured by the Coravin wine system. Education: A "hands-on" experience akin to restaurant service with knowledgeable insights on producers, wine styles and regions.
Helmed by San Diego local and noted meat distributor Tommy Battaglia, Liberty Meat Shop promises to bring back the mom-and-pop style butcher shop his father "Tommy The Butcher" made famous in Little Italy in the 1950s. With his unparalleled knowledge of the meat industry and old-school approach, Battaglia's philosophy centers on "doing business the old fashioned way" with top-quality products and personalized service.
What To Expect: A 1950s style butcher shop filled with the finest beef, lamb, veal, pork and poultry sourced from sustainable farms from around the country, all following ethical and humane standards. Marinated meats and a variety of sausages will also be hand cut by their team of in-house butchers. Farms & Ranches: 100% Black Angus beef, which has grazed freely on open prairies in Kansas, veal from Wisconsin, and birds from Mary's Free Range Chicken. Prime cuts of lamb and pork will both be sourced from superior ranches in the midwest. Service: Aiming to bring personal service back in a big way, customers can expect help with event planning, cooking recommendations and correct portion sizing. The shop will also carry specialty cuts of meat and will accept pre-orders for small dinner parties up to huge holiday events.