The phenomenal food hall, Mercato Centrale, is taking flight and setting up outside of Italy for the very first time. Coming to Melbourne later this year, it will become more than just a place to eat or shop. It will be a meeting place for food and culture to merge together, thanks to a full calendar of free cultural and social activities. Mercato Centrale will open on Collins Street at the end of 2022.
This artisan food hall first opened in Florence in 2014. After that, it sprung up in Rome, Turin, and finally Milan last year. And now, it is coming to the heart of Melbourne.
“Melbourne seems to me an extremely interesting source of artisan food culture, because it is full of passionate artisans who will surely find their place of maximum expression in the Mercato Centrale,” said Umberto Montano, restaurant entrepreneur. For him, artisans are the heroes of Italian cuisine. “It is their responsibility to preserve its tradition and continue its development,” he said. “Outside of Italy, today more than ever, it is important that these traditions do not get lost, but rather that it becomes a school on which to build an even higher development project of the culture of Italian food.”
No two markets are the same, as they all have a strong connection to the local culture and traditions. The places chosen for each location are often neglected venues that are brought back to life, so that the city can enjoy them fully again. For Melbourne, they’ve chosen the former McPherson’s Building, a 1930s Art Deco location that’s a short walk from Southern Cross Station.
Mercato Centrale will take up three floors, and stretch out over 3000 square metres. It will become an oasis of flavour, with over 20 artisan stalls and plenty of chances to make wonderful new discoveries. Each stall will produce, prepare, sell and serve products that you can eat at the market or take home to enjoy. Think fresh bread, pizza, cheese, pasta, seafood and more.
Montano teamed with local entrepreneur Eddie Muto to make the Melbourne location possible. Muto is the owner of Barman & Larder Group, a hospitality team behind venues such as Left Bank in Southbank. They aim to open Mercato Centrale by the end of the year, and are hoping to expand its development to the rest of Oceania.