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"Historic moment" as market prepares to open late for first time

Wednesday 22 March 2023

"Historic moment" as market prepares to open late for first time

Wednesday 22 March 2023


Three restaurants in the Central Market will be opening until late for the first time this weekend - the first major step forward in a plan to make the food hotspot the "jewel in the crown" of town once again.

Casa Paco, La Bouche and Star Noodles are all set to keep their doors open until 23:00 this Friday and Saturday - and bookings are already filling up in anticipation.

The idea of the Central Market becoming a 'night market' - following in the footsteps of the Borough Market in London and the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid - has been gaining popularity for some time. 

Indeed, the idea has support from Government CEO Suzanne Wylie, who previously spoke of the success of “twilight markets” in Belfast, where she used to live and work.

It also had the support of Marcus and Ana Calvani, the Co-Chief Executive Officers of the Jersey Hospitality Association, who reportedly "loved the idea".

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Pictured: What dining at La Bouche will look like this Friday and Saturday.

This Friday, the market will open for diners at the three late-night establishments until 23:00 for the first time.

Melanie May, one of the owners of La Bouche, said this was a "historic moment" for the Central Market. 

"We've been discussing this with the Market for quite some time and they're doing their best to put the jewel back in the crown," she said.

"We've always wanted to open at night, and now they've given us the go-ahead... If it was up to me, I'd be doing it every Friday and Saturday - it's the future of it - but maybe it's just a European dream of mine."

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Pictured - from left to right: James Knox Boothman and Melanie May, the owners of La Bouche. 

Since teasing the new openings social media, the restaurant has already received a strong positive response from the public.

Melanie added: "We're completely sold out for Saturday and we're filling up quickly on Friday. Customers have been saying for so long how nice the market is at night when it's all lit up, and how its such a shame it's not open."

On the Friday and Saturday, the market will only be open to those who have reserved to eat. As a result, guests will be asked for their name on the door.

"There will be no one else open so it'll be a 'VIP at the gates' sort of scenario," Melanie said.

Paco Lora, the founder of Casa Paco, also said he was feeling extremely positive about the opportunity to open up late.

"It's brilliant, it's the way forward. People want to come to the market and have a nice evening, it's a really special event," he said.

When asked if this was the future for the market, he said: "I think it will be, it has to change, there is a demand for. I believe that's the way forward." 

The demand is evident, as Casa Paco has already filled all of its booking slots for Friday and Saturday.

Paco is waiting to see if the weekend goes well, before planning any future late-night openings. 

Both restaurants are hoping that the ability to open up later will be the shot in the arm the Central Market needs.

Melanie May said: "We're all want to make a bit more money after covid - everyone's been struggling."

The future of the Central Market has been on the political agenda for some time, and it's understood that a strategy is under development and due to be released in the coming months.

Economic Development Minister Deputy Kirsten Morel described the development as "exciting".

"There's an understanding that the Central Market can be more vibrant, and can have more of a place in the heart of the town, so this is a really important step forward... People are really wanting to get out there and enjoy the Market."

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