The Market: Delivering epicurean dining to Santa Monica

As you make your way up the escalators of the newly remodeled Santa Monica Place Mall, you cannot help but follow the sweet aroma of fresh artisanal food that seeps through the doors of the invigorating addition to the third floor: The Market. The Market opened its doors on Friday May 20, and is comprised of 11 independent and artisanal shops, kitchens and cafés.

"They put together a bunch of markets at every level and it's not done yet. You can find the top quality food here that comes directly from Italy. I have wines, cheese, salami, and we have two women who hand make our pasta so everything is fresh," shares esteemed restaurateur and owner of Primi Al Mercato, Piero Selvaggìo.?

For anybody trying to live a more decadent lifestyle, attempting to steer away from fast food diners, The Market at the Santa Monica Place offers top indulgences and essentials for a more savory twist to what would typically be a monotonous shopping experience.

Organic meats, locally made cheeses, freshly-baked breads, cooking classes, fine wine, floral arrangements and more can be found inside The Market. ?

"Everybody is representing an organic and sustainable lifestyle here. There isn't competition between the artisanal places here because that is the concept of a market, a mercato," said Selvaggìo.

To offer a more comforting experience, couches and tables were added between shops so customers can enjoy their fresh and local products without having to leave.

"I just had a sample of the pork on a fresh piece of bread and now I'm just sitting back and enjoying the atmosphere. It's such a classy place that offers good quality food that is hard to find, especially when you have cheap fast food calling," said customer Johnny Lopez.

"This market is modeled after the one in San Francisco. We are a bunch of independent companies keeping the big chains out. It's definitely not so much fast food. You can find gourmet ice cream, skin care, wine, and you can shop all in one area," said Beachy Cream worker Lauren Foulk. "Our products are all natural and fresh. Beachy Cream started out as a family owned business selling organic ice cream and fresh cookies that you would buy and make into your own ice cream sandwich. We have a manufacturer in California so it's all local and sustainable."

Aside from the typical food shops and gourmet desserts, The Market offers a variety of events for the public to enjoy. Every shop and café has the opportunity to organize their own tribute as a way of advertising their particular products.

"We had a VIP party on Thursday with the local press, MTV, and investors and on Friday, opening day, we had a DJ and everyone was giving out food samples and it was great," said Samantha Greenfield, employee at Magical Blooms, another unique shop found inside of The Market that offers a variety of floral arrangements.

"Magical Blooms opened in Redondo in 2003 by owner Jenny Barker and now we're here and it's wonderful. We have concierge service where people can order and pick their arrangements at the valet, we have restaurants and hotels come in, and we also teach flower arrangement classes right here," said Greenfield.

Whether you're sitting down and enjoying natural, organic meals, shopping for single item ingredients, or taking a culinary class, The Market is a great place to find what is fresh and in season in this collective arrangement of independently owned establishments.

"People are getting tired of the food court and all these fast food chains. The food here in The Market is a little more expensive but it's top quality. There is a lot of foot traffic here and it's a great place to spend the day," said Greenfield.