A full page ad ran in the Palm Beach Post on Saturday, Oct. 8, 1927 for “Fair Week” at the Municipal Market at Lake Avenue and Park Street.
“Just the regular display of Delicious Fruits and Vegetables, just in fresh, today, from our own Palm Beach County farms,” the title yelled out, continuing, “where the public is offered a large variety of the very choicest quality meats and fancy poultry. Regardless of what your meat needs may be – the Municipal Market is ready to serve you. Remember, fresh poultry killed daily and dressed right here.”
The Municipal Market had opened in March 1927 on the property that is currently the Armory Art Center. Farmers who tended the rich soil surrounding Lake Okeechobee brought their produce to West Palm Beach on barges. They navigated through the canals along what is now Southern Boulevard, turned onto the Stub Canal along Parker Avenue and unloaded their fresh goods.
The Warehouse District
Farmers leased space daily for five cents per “front foot” and on opening day the Post reported that “6,000 housewives” visited the market. The area prospered around the tracks and warehouses were built to support the booming local economy.
Unfortunately, the Municipal Market took heavy damage during the hurricane of 1928 but continued to act as market and event space until it was torn down in 1937 and replaced with the Art Deco Armory building. The train tracks soon fell into disrepair and the barges stopped coming down the Stub Canal.
Over the next 90 years the Warehouse District served a much humbler industrial purpose and was largely ignored until investors purchased a full city block and announced their plans to revive it.
The anchor property for the Warehouse District, located at 1500 Elizabeth Ave., is the Grandview Public Market – 13,000 square feet meticulously renovated from a frozen produce distribution center. The new market bills itself as “more than a market, a home for chefs, artists, and entrepreneurs.”
There, you can experience Zipitios serving up “killer” tacos and The Corner offering delicious Detroit-style pizza. Aromatic coffee is served by our friends at Rabbit Coffee Roasting Company.
Other tempting choices include Ramen Lab Eatery, Poké Lab Eatery and Crema, preparing fresh, all-natural Thai rolled ice cream while you wait.
On the healthier side, try one of the açaí organic breakfast bowls at Celis Produce. While you’re at it, check out their fresh take on smoothies and sandwiches – especially their grilled cheese sandwich made with Brie, apples, fig preserves, arugula and local sourdough!
This is just some of the innovative eateries setting up shop at Grandview, with more on the way, including Cuban restaurant El Cochinito opening Sept. 1.
Also new to the Warehouse District is Steam Horse Brewing, which just held its grand opening. It’s from the owners of Tequesta Brewing Company in Jupiter and Twisted Trunk Brewing in Palm Beach Gardens.
Grandview Market owner Chris Vila has been enthusiastic about business so far.
“It has been great to see the outpouring of support from the locals,” Vila said. “We are excited for season to start but we are very thankful for the locals who have supported us.”
I can certainly speak to the popularity of the market. As I sat at the outside tables in the shaded and dog-friendly “loading dock” on a recent Thursday afternoon in the middle of summer, the place was packed.
What pleases Vila the most?
“Seeing all the entrepreneurs who are creating something here. Everyone is doing very well and there’s a sense of community amongst the vendors.”
My favorite part of the market is Clare’s Chicken and Wine, which boasts an extensive menu of toasts, sandwiches and fried chicken. And unlike the Municipal Market, Clare’s poultry isn’t “killed daily and dressed right here” – their chickens are “humanely raised on a farm in Pennsylvania.”
Pictured above: Visitors stroll through Grandview Public Market in West Palm Beach’s Warehouse District. The urban marketplace is home to creative food vendors serving up everything from Detroit-style pizza to organic breakfast bowls, killer tacos, sandwiches, Cuban food, burgers and craft cocktails. The market is located at 1401 Clare Ave. Photo by Jeff Herron Photography