Sitting at a Le Parfait Paris enjoying my double-shot cappuccino, happy to have the free WiFi and a power outlet, I am thoroughly enjoying writing a follow-up review of local restaurateur David Spatafore’s Liberty Public Market.
Coronado locals are familiar with Spatafore’s Blue Bridge Hospitality local restaurants: Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge, MooTime Creamery, Stake Chophouse & Bar, Village Pizzeria, Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q, et al. As I reported in an earlier article, Spatafore’s signature style is that no one restaurant is exactly alike; his business model is the opposite of a franchise.
With Liberty Public Market, Spatafore has again created something different all together. First is the location. Liberty Public Market is a 15-20 minute drive from Coronado to Liberty Station. Old-timers might remember the old Naval Training Center and know where I’m talking about. Fans of Trader Joe’s will know where I’m talking about, because it’s where they go to the Point Loma Trader Joe’s.
Besides the off the island location, Liberty Public Market is different because it is not a restaurant at all, it’s many restaurants. And it’s not just restaurants, but markets as well. And not just restaurants and markets, but also wine bars, beers on tap, and open play areas for little kids.
Let me slow down here. Imagine this: It’s Friday night, you have three children under ten. What to do? I’ll tell you what to do: “Get thee to Liberty Public Market.” There you will find a gaggle of other happy young families. Mom, Dad, and friends chilling in Adirondack chairs. Kids frolicking on the artificial turf or eating a delicious meal in a to-go box. And yes, your dog is welcome in the outside area as well.
As the Liberty Public Market website explains, it’s officially open 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., but each vendor may choose to open earlier or stay open later. When we were there for dinner on a Friday, the place was jumping with fun well past 7:00. But as the website recommends, check each vendor’s hours listed on the Artisans page of the website.
The Market has one restaurant with table service, but the rest are set up to order and then take outside to the plentiful tables. Some options are Thai Cuisine from Mama Made: A Mother of Thai Cuisine or a plate of sushi from the Fish Bone Kitchen and Raw Bar. The Fish Bone Kitchen has an oyster bar where you can sit and enjoy oysters shucked before your eyes. Or perhaps you’ll want to choose an artisan hamburger from “Stuffed.”
I’m here in the morning and a trio of middle-aged cycling guys in their biking gear is enjoying coffee and, wait, it looks like one is stopping by the flower stall to pick up some sunflowers for his wife. Well, actually, the buying flowers part isn’t real, but it COULD be real.
Liberty Public Market is not just for dining. There is a flower shop, a meat market, a fish market, a pet shop, a cheese shop. The list goes on. It’s very fun to wander around this place.
And best of all you can buy an adult beverage of your choice and wander around the food and market stalls: maybe a glass of Merlot while you peruse the olive oil and bread shop, or an IPA while you pop into “Pasta Designs” to shop for craft pastas and sauces.
While the original intent was that each food vendor would be able to sell alcohol at their individual space, the ABC put the kibosh on that. A bit of a disappointment to the vendors, but not really for the patrons. You just wander back to the bar area, order your drink, and head back into the shops, markets, or out to the outside eating area.
The rustic atmosphere, keeping the feel of the original use of the building, creates an authentic, pleasing ambience.
When I first visited here about a month ago, during the dinner hour, service was a bit chaotic; but now the staff at each station seems to have gained their sea legs, and all my orders went smoothly.
The cafes and bakeries knew the Market WiFi password and had it prominently displayed (the password is changed each week), but some of the food vendors didn’t know what the password was or how to get it. But maybe that makes sense as it is at the cafes that we’re more likely to set up shop with our computer, coffee, and Eggs Benedict.
Keep in mind that this place is hopping. It’s been delightfully busy and bustling both times I’ve been here with families, singles, and folks of all ages. I got there early for coffee this morning, so parking wasn’t a problem, but when we came at the dinner hour, it took us some time to find parking.
Other than a little airplane noise while you’re sitting outside, this new eating adventure by Spatafore is wonderful. It is most certainly is a “must do” adventure.
The address is:
Liberty Public Market
2820 Historic Decatur Road
San Diego, CA 92106
You can stay current with Liberty Public Market on their facebook page.