Urban Radish, the first farm-fresh community market to open in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District, will make its official premiere Aug. 17 with an all-day grand opening event that will feature free food, tours of the market and a host of local dignitaries.
Hailed as a promising solution to bring fresh, wholesome foods to a food desert that’s affected residents and businesses in the area for decades, the vision of Urban Radish’s founder aims to provide the unique neighborhood with a local market that shoppers can visit frequently and buy small quantities of produce, meats, fish and hot and cold “Cal-Med” prepared foods.
"After nearly a year of construction, we are thrilled that our grand opening day is one week away,” said Carolyn Paxton, Urban Radish founder. “Our market aligns with the lifestyle of its Arts District residents, appreciative of handcrafted, locally sourced products. Since our soft launch in July, we have had an overwhelmingly positive response from the community and as a resident of the Arts District, I have seen this area develop into one of the hottest areas for anyone who enjoys exploring new food and drink.”
The architecture of Urban Radish (see photo gallery below for related images), designed by integrated development and marketing firm Creative Space, maintained the integrity of the original warehouse space, but added sustainable design features and elements that encourage social interaction. The market was re-purposed from an 8,000-square-foot former glass-manufacturing warehouse, with the goal of keeping its industrial aesthetics.
One of the building's most defining attributes left in place is the iconic chipmunk mural painted on the building's side by renowned Belgium street muralist Peter Roa. New design features include an outdoor seating area with picnic tables; landscape design featuring native plants to green the space and provide shade; and a European-style bakery and deli featuring finishes from re-purposed wood discarded on another construction jobsite.
The parking lot offers free parking and houses one of the largest electric car charging stations in the U.S., where customers can fully charge their cars while they grocery shop or enjoy a sandwich during their lunch hour.
The employees of Urban Radish are another unique element of the store. Urban Radish partnered with Homeboy Industries, a non-profit organization that assists high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women with a continuum of services and programs including job training, to staff many positions in the store. Positions range from stock clerk to assistant cheesemonger. Many staff members came from Homegirl Café and Homeboy Bakery where workers received intensive training in both restaurant services and the culinary arts.