For the past several years, Buenos Aires has made a concerted effort to expand its food and drinks scene, hoping to transform the “Paris of Buenos Aires” into a gastronomic playground true to its name.
As part of the initiative to expand the local offering, the city of Buenos Aires aims to generate foodie markets where one can find quality, fresh products at several strategic points beyond the typical tourist areas.
Héctor Gatto, the Deputy Chief of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, has been working through the Office of Citizen Welfare to begin the construction of a lucrative gastronomic market in Villa 31 in Retiro. Local residents will be voting on the title of the as-of-now unnamed locale upon its inauguration.
El Bocado (The Bite), Mercado Porteño (Porteño Market) and Mercado del Barrio (Neighborhood Market) are the three proposed names for the project, which will be located between Carlos Perette and Walsh streets, in a refurbished warehouse that, until recently, was used as a parking lot.
In general, the City’s project aims to consolidate such markets not only as places where people can pick up fresh food straight from the producer or vendor, but also as meeting points for neighbors to greet and catch up—a similar purpose that many neighborhood cafés currently serve.
To help turn the market into such a multi-purpose nucleus of social integration for local residents, a craft workshop and kitchens specifically for the purpose of group cooking lessons will be included in the project. A community oven, to be used by different cooks for food preparation and also serve as a space for lectures, classes, and tastings, will be installed in the center of the market.
It is also the hope that the opening of such markets across the city will help with employment and job creation.
“Buenos Aires is the third cultural hotspot for food in the world, behind New York and London. We have mate, dulce de leche, wine. All of this made us create the Office of Citizen Welfare and, based on these concepts, we started to work to position the City as a gastronomic capital. In this way, we hope to generate sustainable development and expand jobs,” emphasized Diego Santilli, the deputy chief of the city’s government.
“The market will focus on selling fresh products. It will be self-sustaining and will be managed by a cooperative association formed by market permit holders,” Santilli added.
The new market will include thirty-two local vendors working in different gastronomic sectors, and two separate areas to sit and eat. Construction work to refurbish the old warehouse will begin tomorrow, and it is estimated that the market will open on March 8, 2019.
Between the construction work and the new employment that the market will bring, 150 jobs will be directly created from the project. At least 20 percent of those working on the market’s construction will be neighborhood residents.
The space will also include a number of other valuable services, including an ATM and a health station, where people will be able to meet with nutritionists and receive advice on how to lead a healthy life and maintain a balanced diet.