15 December 2023

Christmas comes early for new and old vendors as Capital Food Market opens its doors

| Lucy Ridge
Exterior of the market

Once all tenants have moved in, there will be an outdoor dining terrace. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The new Capital Food Market threw open their doors yesterday (13 December) to a crowd of excited locals who have been eagerly anticipating the new food hall and market. Formerly known as Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, the Capital Food Market takes its inspiration from the food hall markets of Europe.

Around 10 of the vendors are now open for business. A further eight are slated to open by the end of December and many hope to be up and running by Christmas. Ten more vendors will open in the new year.

Bianna Nix, a member of the market’s management team, says that they’re really pleased with the response so far.

“We know that Belconnen has been waiting for this day!” she told Region on opening day, “and our vendors have been working so hard to get here, so we wanted to make sure that our opening did justice to all their efforts.”

Ben wears black Three Mills Bakery shirt in front of wall with text "Three Mills Bakery, baking bread together"

Ben Holland of Three Mills Bakery is especially excited for Le Cheeserie to open soon. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Live music and free shopping bags will greet customers in the first few days of trade. One of the early vendors is Canberra icon Three Mills Bakery, which has a shopfront prominently located in the food hall area.

Three Mills Bakery hospitality manager Ben Holland says he is stoked to be working at the new store.

“I’m personally very excited to have all this right on the doorstep of my workplace!” he told Region.

“This is our first north side location and we have lots of loyal customers who’ve been desperate for us to open … and Capital Food Market is a great project to be part of.”

For previous Belconnen Market vendors like Deli Cravings, Book Passion and Natural Living, it’s a return to normality after close to two years of trading out of the temporary ‘market shed’.

Cheto Lo runs the Chicken Coop with his family. His dad, Billy, opened the shop in 1989 when Cheto was four-and-a-half years old. Chicken Coop has been a staple of the fresh food market ever since.

“I really grew up in the old market, climbing things and just being a kid,” Cheto said.

“Since then, we’ve seen Canberra’s population grow and food trends have shifted. I’m really optimistic to see how the growth of Belconnen can benefit the market vendors and how we can just bring Belconnen up a bit and provide something fresh.”

A father and son stand in front of Chicken Coop sign

Billy and Cheto Lo have been operating their family business since the 80s. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

In addition to fresh food stores, the newly refurbished market will also boast a number of restaurants and cafes, like Papa J’s Filipino, What The Pho and Florence Gelato. It will be a real foodie hub, with some of Canberra’s best street eats and the ingredients to recreate them all in one place!

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Other features of the precinct include an impressive system for green waste and recycling and careful design to ensure the passive temperature of the building stays consistent. There’s also a lovely parents’ room, underground parking with escalator access and plans for an outdoor dining terrace.

Ben from Three Mills Bakery says he’s really excited for the Cheeserie by Melted to open soon.

The Three Mills team is looking forward to collaborating with some of their neighbours to bring unique flavours to their Belconnen customers. A long bench will showcase the baking team doing their thing as customers can watch them making fresh taglio (Roman-style topped focaccia) and other baked goods. They’re also thinking about using the space for classes.

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Cheto from Chicken Coop says he is most excited to see the seafood shops reopen and the fresh fruit and vegetable vendors.

“It will be fantastic to allow customers to come and get everything they need in one location.”

Pop up stall with honey

Pop-up vendors will also be a feature of the new space. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The Capital Food Market is located at 10 Market Street, Belconnen. They are open from 8 am to 6 pm, Wednesday to Sunday, with some dining options opening late. Visit the Capital Food Market website for more information.

Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.

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