First Look: Urban Radish, Downtown LA's First Gourmet Marketplace

Any loft dweller knows that while living in Downtown LA is hip and cool, especially for those there before the resurgence, there is a dearth of grocery stores and markets. Sure, there is a Ralph's (finally) and a couple of small farmer's markets, but if you want quality goods, most Downtowners have to schlep to a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or Bristol Farms, which usually means a trip to Pasadena or one of the larger farmer's markets around town. But Carolyn Paxton and Michael and Keri Aivazis are out to change that, one organically-farmed leaf at a time, with Urban Radish, their new Arts District warehouse-turned-marketplace.

You can't miss the corrugated metal building with its signature chipmunk painted on the sign, a street-art holdover from the warehouse's previous life, set on a corner near the Biscuit and Toy Factory Lofts. The market opened over the Fourth of July, a lofty space filled with racks of specialty foodstuffs, like condiments, a nice cheese selection, sustainably-raised meats and seafood, organic vegetables and more. There are even a few spots to charge electric cars outside. It's like the best of the Fancy Food Show under one roof, with hand-crafted and artisanal goods, some from LA - did you know Georgio Baldi sold jarred pasta sauce? - but many from beyond, all hand-selected by owners Carolyn Paxton and Michael and Keri Aivazis. While Urban Radish might not attract every Downtown local - the prices are more on par with a Whole Foods or Bristol Farms, not Ralph's or TJ's - it's a great spot to grab lunch and dinner items, or anything you don't need but can't do without, as needed.

Even non-locals will find something delicious here, like a rotisserie chicken or bottle of Molonay Tubilderborst Ketchup. We stopped for photos and ended up with a jamon, butter and cornichon sandwich on an amazing Bread Lounge baguette (the bread's made just around the corner); a small hunk of Appalachian cheese from Virginia; a teensy jar of fig and walnut spread; crackers; and an iced coffee. And we weren't even hungry. Tables and chairs will be set up soon so you can sit and dine there, and the hours will soon be extended after this "soft" phase. Let's take a look around.