East L.A., Sara’s Market: Bringing Local Goodness to the Neighborhood
Local made products for sale at your neighborhood market? That sounds convenient.
That’s how lucky the people of East L.A. are these days. They get to try new local products; at Sara’s Market you tend to hear a nonchalant, “My friend makes these.”
From the michelada mixes to some aguas frescas, the market has products made in L.A. and other parts of California. Talk about supporting the community.
So when did it all start?
60 years ago, a nice couple from Zacatecas and Colima took over the 25 year-old family shop in their neighborhood of East L.A. Fast forward fifty five years later, and their daughter Sara and her husband Steven are running the store maintaining the neighborhood familial vibe in the shop. Technically, through different ownerships and names, the market has been standing for almost 85 years. Wow.
Sara and Steven Valdés are a young couple. They were both born in the U.S. but were raised on different coasts. Her family being from neighboring Mexico stays close to their traditions while Steven’s family is Cuban and seems to have adopted more American traditions while growing up in New York.
West Coast vs East Coast?
The couple’s relationship and day-to-day interactions with the predominantly Mexican community make for great stories about Steven “the Yankee fan” living in a Dodger world. After talking to the couple for over an hour, I learned that the biggest difference between them, aside from baseball, turned out to be the food.
We compared how Steven’s idea of hot soup to cure a cold would be a Campbell’s soup while Sara’s go-to would be a homemade noodle soup – (i.e. soup made the right way basically…). Before closing the store if one of them grabs a snack for the road, Sara goes for the Mexican treats and Steven will go for a Hostess cake. And the biggest one, as old-school Mexicans, Sara and I disapprove of his cheddar addition on Mexican food – It’s just not right. But silly topics like these make us realize our differences and similarities within the Latinx community.
It’s a neighborhood thing
Talking to them was like catching up with friends. Seriously, if you go, be ready to stay there for some time. Some of the vendors put off this stop till the end of their route since they know they’ll be there a while. The market is a very homey place. It’s warm and welcoming. You’ll feel like part of their neighbor community and might feel compelled to add to the ongoing Dodgers vs Yankees debate 😉
While I was there, at least five people stopped by and I could see the couple’s demeanor and relationship with their customers was warm and friendly. It seems like everyone has known each other for years.
Coolest thing about this was to see the language change depending on the customer’s preference. They would speak Spanish if that’s how the customer initiated the conversation and transition to English if that’s how the customer decided to end it. The language transitions were seamless and it was great to see how diverse Latinxs can be.
Let’s talk shop
The majority of their products are local. They want their selection to be unique and continue to promote local businesses. Anyone who wants to sell their products should consider contacting Sara and Steven.
There are also the inevitable big brands that some of us grew up with like Bimbo, Jabón Foca and Jabón ROMA. Although these items are the opposite of local, they bring a sense of nostalgia from younger years in Mexico.
The store isn’t the biggest but their assortment is very complete. From fine wine from the Central Coast to craft local beers and the essential Mexican condiments, there will most likely be something for everyone.
The decoration is key to the essence of the market. The walls are covered with beer promotions, the store’s banner, growlers from different breweries and the constant battle between Dodgers and Yankees has made its way as part of the decor.
Six pack to go please!
If you want to try a new craft beer, but aren’t sure which one to purchase or how to build your own six pack? Don’t worry. Steven’s got you. Just say what kind of taste and brew you’re in the mood for and he’ll put together a pack just for you. Be prepared to take notes though. He will describe everything from the flavor, alcohol percentage to the labels and cool facts about each brewery.
If you’re thinking of going this week, you’re in luck. They’ve just partnered with L.A. Taco and the deal is when you make your own six pack, you get the seventh beer for free. Nice.
Did you hear about the pop ups?
Every weekend they set up food pop ups which are normally vendors like tacos, birria, burgers, desserts, etc.
It’s a great initiative and easy way to get more eyes on different food talent. We normally have to scout for local unique products or food trucks, but if they’re not in big grocery stores or farmer’s markets, chances are we might not get to them.
Sara’s Market’s idea is to make the market more interactive and to continue to promote new and local vendors amongst the residents of East L.A. Cheers to that.
Do you have a favorite craft beer? What would be your ideal craft beer six pack? Tell us your picks and there might be a surprise for you…at Sara’s Market 😉
3455 City Terrace Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90063
Open 7 days a week:
Mon-Thurs 7am – 8pm
Fri 7am – 9pm
Sat 8am – 9pm
Sun 8am – 8pm
#SarasMarket #CraftBeer #FineWine #SomosLatinX
This is one feature within our “Venturing Through LA” series. Check out the rest:
- Time Travel: Echo Park Takes Us On A Writing Journey… Through A Wormhole
- DTLA: Chicas Tacos For Days…
- Tierra Mía Coffee: Is This the Latin Take On Starbucks?
- DTLA: A Place Where Pupusas Shine Bright Just For You
- L.A. Plant Based Scene: Brewery, Lunch, Ice Cream a la non-dairy. Cheers!
- Voted World’s Best Cuban Sandwich, Silverlake’s Cuban Gem : El Cochinito