Downtown Market flips the switch

By: Jeff Cianci on Sep 12, 2011

The lights are on at downtown’s new San Pedro Square Market.san pedro square market sign lighting event, the market sign lit up at night resized 600

While the official grand opening is not until Oct. 22, a large crowd stood outside the new market Friday evening as San Jose city council member Sam Liccardo threw the switch on the market’s recently installed sign with a giant prop light switch to wide applause.

Located at the end of San Pedro Square next to the historic Peralta adobe, San Pedro Square Market will feature about 20 different vendors ranging from a wine bar, wood oven pizza from Naples and a local and fresh produce market.

The project is a partnership between former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery, his nephew John McEnery and developer Martin Menne. Their goal is to bring the culture and excitement to San Jose found in other markets such as Seattle’s Pike Place.

“The food culture is a hot thing right now,” said Tom McEnery. “We’re trying to change the perception of downtown San Jose with this great historic place next to the Adobe and the outdoor plaza connecting everything, it really adds to the authenticity. I can’t wait to taste all the food.”

The lighting ceremony gave the public a chance to walk around the market, much of which is still under construction. Pat Plant has been following the market’s progress and came to check out the lighting ceremony. 

“Me and my secretary just drool staring in the window,” said Plant. “ It will be very cool to sip coffee in the patio on my breaks.”

David Violett came up from Gilroy to catch a peek of the new market.

“I come here as a regular at the San Pedro bars, but having this food culture drop onto San Jose is awesome,” said Violett.

The San Pedro Square Market Bar was open Friday, serving cool cocktails to guests milling around their new surroundings. In addition to the Market Bar, new wine bar Vino Vino was offering wine and appetizers such as smoked salmon and fromage blanc crostini.

Several council members joined Liccardo in the lighting ceremony including Mayor Chuck Reed who said he had never witnessed a food market until he visited Pike Place during the market’s planning.

“I’m really excited for the market,” said Reed.  “We’ve seen how well they have done in other cities. It’s a perfect addition for our downtown culture.”

At a little after 8 p.m. the lights came on over San Pedro Square Market, illuminating the neon sign in a soft red glow. As the crowd clapped in approval, Liccardo declared, “I think were going to look back on this day and say, ‘this was the day that marked downtown’s second renaissance.’”