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Mercado Gonzalez: This Mexican Food Hall is a Magnet

Caroline Wu
Mar 8, 2024
Mercado Gonzalez: This Mexican Food Hall is a Magnet

Mercado Gonzalez: This Mexican Food Hall is a Magnet

Mercado Gonzalez opened less than six months ago, and boy, is it making a splash! This marketplace/food hall located in Costa Mesa, CA hosts 20 food stalls where one can stroll through, buy colorful produce, and imagine that one is at the Mercado de Coyoacan in Mexico City, one of various mercados from which this location takes inspiration. Already, we see from the Placer data below that since opening in mid-November (just in time for the holidays!), Mercado Gonzalez is proving to be one of the most-visited locations in the Northgate Gonzalez portfolio.

The weekend spikes really stand out as patrons from all over Southern California come to partake of pan dulces, aguas frescas, and oh-so-delectable hot and fresh churros at Churreria El Moro.


We wrote about food fusion last week, and indeed, in addition to traditional Mexican specialties like tortas ahogadas at Chiva Torta, one can also find Mexican-style sushi at Sushi El Sinaloense. From street food to gourmet at Maizano and Entre Nos, one has options that run the gamut from hot tortillas to cochinita pibil with fresh masa.

This food hall extravaganza bills itself as the “ultimate destination for Mexican food and culture” and it appears that customers who travel from a trade area of over 150 miles are in total agreement.

Compared to another top–trafficked Northgate Gonzalez market in Los Angeles, which draws from a much more local crowd of 11 sq miles (keep in mind, there are numerous Northgate Gonzalez markets across the Southern California landscape), this novel food hall concept attracts a much more diverse audience, across multiple dimensions like geography, ethnicity, and household income.

Trade Area and Venns 3.6.24

While the traditional grocery store attracts heavily from the segment of Lower Hispanic Families at the Los Angeles and San Diego locations, and also from Near-Urban Diverse Families and Young Urban Singles in San Diego, the segment data from PersonaLive reveals that Mercado Gonzalez also brings in Young Professionals, Educated Urbanites, Wealthy Suburban Families, and Ultra Wealthy Families.

Personalive image

In addition, the average HHI of those visiting Mercado Gonzalez is roughly twice that of the other Northgate Gonzalez grocery stores.

Mercado HHI

The food hall also attracts a broader swath of ethnicities.

Mercado Ethnicity

Much like Eataly before it, Jose Andres’ Spanish Mercado Little Spain, or Asian food halls that we wrote about recently in our Lunar New Year articles, there is enthusiastic appetite for an immersive encounter reminiscent of being in another country and having access to authentic flavors and eating experiences.

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Caroline Wu

Director of Research,

Caroline brings expertise in retail, CRE, entertainment, media, CPG, and tourism, and specializes in synthesizing broad datasets into actionable recommendations for growth. She has worked as the US Director of Consumer Insights at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, VP of Retail Insights and Intelligence at Omnicom, and Senior Director at Kantar. Caroline holds an MA in Sociology from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

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