Pull up the Las Vegas Valley on the USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas and a few tracts of land are denoted as “food deserts,” low-income areas where at least a third of residents live a mile or more from the nearest grocery store. Shorten that distance to a half-mile and the highlight covers most of Downtown—an area with low access to fresh, healthy food.
Much has been made of that problem and its chicken-or-egg effect on residential development. Supermarkets won’t open because there aren’t enough people, the logic goes, and people won’t move Downtown because there aren’t amenities like supermarkets. And around and around we go.
In early October, however, a shiny new wrench will be thrown into that conversation cycle: the Market, DTP’s long-awaited Fremont Street grocer, filling the storefront once home to Mamita’s restaurant. The 6,000-square-foot space will offer a café with made-to-order sandwiches and Stumptown coffee, a prepared food counter and, yes, groceries—from kale chips to Funyuns, craft beer to Bud Light, body wash to fresh beef.
The Market is aiming to serve everyone, says general manager Ellyn Chantos, whether you are stocking up for the week, just need a carton of milk or want to grab a s’mores sandwich and a seat on the patio. “Everyone knows that Downtown needs a grocery store,” she says, adding that this one will feel like part of the neighborhood, with its industrial design and herbs grown by students at Walter Bracken STEAM Academy just down the road.
Of course, fitting a mega-grocer’s range into a small footprint means making some sacrifices. The Market has distilled its selection, so you’ll see two types of peanut butter to Smith’s 12, but the staff promises the lineup is “fluid.” If something you want is missing, just ask for it, and the next time you visit it might be in stock.
That’s the beauty of a neighborhood market—and walking to pick up an apple and a six-pack isn’t so bad, either.