Mark Peel and Bruce Kalman Join the Grand Central Market Makeover

Downtown’s historic food hub braces for the opening of Bombo and a new pasta bar

The overhaul of Grand Central Market continues. Last year alone, the almost 100-year-old Downtown food hub brought in Berlin Currywurst, McConnell’s Ice Cream, Christophe Happillon’s Oyster Gourmet, Olio Pizza and Wexler’s Deli, and it looks like we can expect even more of a makeover in 2015 with former Brooklyn chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson working to open their Madcapra falafel shop.

Two of L.A.’s more prominent chefs are moving in as well. Adding to the growing list of high-profile operators at the market, Mark Peel, who ran former L.A. institution Campanile, has announced that his new seafood-focused restaurant Bombo will debut in March. Union’s Bruce Kalman has signed on to open a pasta bar in late summer.

Bombo is a nickname given to the steel-jacketed steam kettles that Peel will be using to create a menu of broth-based dishes. The chef first saw the specialty cookware in action at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City, and though he was immediately intrigued, he never had the opportunity to use them until now.

“I was fascinated because it was so different from what I was used to cooking with, and I loved the way they worked–very fast, very clean, very visual,” Peel says. “I wanted someday to do something with them, but I never really had a place in any restaurant I ever worked in because it’s a big investment, and they take up a fair amount of room. So when we were talking to the people at Grand Central Market, we thought, ‘This is the perfect place for it.’”

Peel says his menu will be “very focused” and built around four broths–curried shrimp cream and spicy lobster bouillabaisse, plus two non-seafood options: a vegan reduction with dried mushrooms and Japanese seaweed, and a double-enriched chicken. He plans to prepare the broths in advance, which will allow a variety of dishes to be made in minutes. Along with the restaurant, the chef will be curating an adjoining fish market.

Less concrete are the plans for Kalman’s upcoming pasta bar, which he is opening with business partner Marie Petulla. However, we do know that lunch and dinner will be served. And, just like at Union, which took the No. 2 spot on Los Angeles magazine’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2014, the menu will rely on what’s available at the farmers’ market each day.

The new space will include an attached marketplace, where the chef will be selling his growing collection of artisanal goods. The chef will presumably offer pickles from his Bruce’s Prime Pickle Company as well as the new line of spice rubs he created with Venice’s Hepp’s Salt Co.–some of his delicious giardiniera would be nice, too. Kalman also promises a pasta “lab” that will produce fresh noodles daily.

“I’m looking forward to sharing a nice menu of fresh pastas with the Downtown community,” Kalman says. “With this new space, we’ll be able to do some R&D, serve great pasta dishes, and sell fresh pasta to take home from our market.”

redarrow Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, 213-624-2378