Get a Peek Inside DeSoto Central Market Before the Grand Opening This Weekend

Ladders, blue prints, and layers of dust covered almost every surface within DeSoto Central Market on Monday, but manager Shawn Connelly says he is confident the space will be ready by the grand opening this weekend.

Regardless of the tidying up still needed, the preserved historic beauty of the building and Connelly's vision for the space were visible on a tour earlier this week.

The multi-use space will feature seven restaurant concepts ranging from burgers to cold-pressed juices, an open-air market in the center of the building, a newly-built mezzanine, and an expansive dog-friendly patio with yard games (rumor has it that tetherball will be coming), and access to several of the restaurants through to-go windows.

See also: Okra: Crudo Team to Open Southern-Inspired Second Restaurant in Central Phoenix

Even with the new additions to the space, Connelly aimed to showcase as much of the well-preserved 1928 building, which originally housed a Chrysler DeSoto car dealership, as possible. And hailing from Detroit, Connelly used the subtle automotive décor touches to pay homage to his own family's history while simultaneously keeping the interior unmistakably Phoenix.

"It's like I'm continuing a legacy," Connelly says. "But it's my own legacy now."

A giant metal sculpture, resembling DeSoto's grille, that stretches from just above the bar to a few feet from the rafters greets guest upon entering the old showroom, which now acts of the dining room.

The bar will feature drinks created by Jason Asher and Jillian Newman, but Connelly has put Stephen Jones, previously of Blue Hound Kitchen + Cocktails, in charge of overseeing the restaurants within the Chelsea Market-esque venue.

Jones will also be head chef at DCM Burger Bar, Tea + Toast Co. coffee bar, Walrus & the Pearl oyster (and champagne) bar, and his own southern food concept, Yard Bird + The Larder.

"If I was dying, my last meal is a whole roasted chicken," Jones says, explaining that "yard bird" is kitchen lingo for chicken.

Tea + Toast Co. will finally bring the national toast trend to Phoenix as well as offer Allison Devane's teas. The walls of this coffee alcove are made of portions of the demolished Luhrs building, which Connelly says he salvaged by hand. Camelback Flowershop will share the back wall.

The other concepts set to open in DCM include Adobo Dragon, a Latin/Asian fusion restaurant and Radish, a farm-to-table fast, casual restaurant and juice bar. In the next six to eight months, Connelly says an ice cream shop, bakery, and butcher will fill the remaining spaces.

McClendon's Select Farms and eventually other local farmers will sell fresh produce in the market on the ground floor while locally made dry goods like cereals, spices, hot sauce, and grains will be sold up on the mezzanine.

Connelly intends the rest of the mezzanine to be a gathering place for the community, with plush, leather couches, free WiFi throughout the building, and a private meeting room for groups to reserve.

Check out the DeSoto Central Marketplace, 915 North Central Avenue, for yourself during the grand opening Saturday, April 11, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, April 12, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guests will be welcomed with pop-up vendors, cocktail tastings, live music, chef demonstrations, and giveaways.

Guests can park in the Roosevelt Community Church parking lot just east of DCM at 924 North First Street.

See more photos of the space on the next page.

Editor's note: This post has been edited from its original version.

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