How L.A.'s historic Grand Central Market is handling its reopening

So much about L.A.'s dining scene has morphed over the decades, particularly downtown, but the Grand Central Market endures. Most of us have never lived through a global pandemic. But downtown’s Grand Central Market has. It opened in 1917, the year before an influenza pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide.

But although the market is an institution, it’s no immutable relic; it, like nearly all businesses, has been forced to grow and adapt during the last several months. With its indoor/outdoor food hall environment providing both unique advantages and challenges in negotiating the coronavirus, the market faces a tightrope familiar to many restaurants today: balancing financial viability with its workers’ and customers’ safety.

In the midst of the chaos, there are newcomers. Longtime Glendora favorite the Donut Man has finally opened its shop in the market’s southern Broadway-side corner to long lines. After a four-month delay, customers eager to get their hands on the shop’s signature strawberry-filled donuts can finally satisfy their cravings without the 45-minute drive.

I spoke to a number of the market’s vendors including Jim Nakano, also known as the Donut Man, about how they’re coping and moving forward during an unpredictable time.