LA’s new ‘Sari Sari Store’ draws crowds hungry for Filipino food
LOS ANGELES — Iconic century-old Grand Central Market (GCM) this month welcomed the much-talked about Filipino-inspired “Sari Sari Store,” which competes with more than 100 stalls in the high-rent tourist destination in downtown Los Angeles.
Sari Sari Store, owned and operated by James Beard-nominated pastry chef Margarita Manzke and her culinary wiz husband, Walter, have added the Philippine touch to the international delis, butchers, dry good stores, fusion restos, grocers, baristas and bakers at the famous tourist watering hole.
The Market has always reflected the changing population of downtown LA, located between Broadway and Hill streets.
Walter, whose heritage is German, and Margie, who grew up in Subic Bay, are not new to the hotel and restaurant industry, having perfected their epicurean skills at Patina and Spago, among others, and simultaneously run high-end ventures such as the French-inspired Republique at the historic Campanile (formerly the Charlie Chaplin building) on La Brea.
As one treads the quaint entrance of grand ol’ Market, one cannot miss the contemporary wrap-around seating of Sari Sari, which is decorated with an overhead display of cans of sardines, Spam, Pamana brand vinegar, soy sauce, Sky Flakes, anything and everything (“sari sari”) reminiscent of the “tindahan” or corner stores from one’s childhood days back home.
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