By Mira Honeycutt

PASO ROBLES — Paso Robles locals had a sneak peek and a hard-hat tour of the much-awaited Paso Market Walk, still under construction at the corner of Spring and 18th streets. The market is scheduled to open in February 2020. 

The former Hometown Nursery that sat unused for many years has a whole new look.

“It’s urban country,” said project owner Debbie Mann of the market’s design. The one-acre lot is taking shape as a food haven — a mixed-used development that will bring together local culinary products, dining, a wine bar and lodging into a single destination.

Mann welcomed over 100 guests to the “construction zone.” And indeed it was, with exposed beams and rafters and unfinished walkways secured with liners for safety. 

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But, in spite of the unfinished appearance, a few vendors had set up makeshift tables at their positioned spots, serving coffee, baked goods, salads, olive oils and vegan products.

Mann, who co-founded Justin Winery, later got into commercial real estate which motivated her to create this development. “It made sense to do a market place,” said Mann, who was inspired by her global travels to places such as Sweden, France, Italy, Spain and New Zealand. Once completed, the Market Walk will resonate with Paso’s country vibe combined with urban design.

Designed by Los Angeles-based Project M-Plus, the spacious market with a barn-like contemporary design is one large structure with an expansive market hall that leads to intimate spaces or pods for vendors. Courtyards and pathways will allow for outdoor seating in a scenic landscape. The historic Victorian house next-door will transform into Finca, a Mexican restaurant.

A total of 11 vendors are signed up so far, with a few pods still available. In addition to local Paso purveyors, there will be culinary specialists from Napa and Los Angeles. Local favorite Twisted and Glazed donut shop will offer healthy goodness with the Juice Box Paso featuring an Acai Bar, freshly pressed juice and a Mexican-inspired fruit cup concept. The accompanying The Donut Box Paso will serve freshly made mini donuts throughout the day.

Visitors can pick up salads, sandwiches and rotisserie chicken from Third Degree eatery and freshly baked delicacies from Just Baked Cake Studio & Bakery. 

Other vendors include Joebella Coffee Roasters, Hog Canyon Brewing, Leo Leo Gelato, Momotaro Ramen and California olive oil and Italian balsamic vinegar by Montello Tasting Room. 

For vegans, The Vreamery will serve vegan cheeses crafted from non-GMO soy and raw cashew and almond bases. 

Paso Robles Wine Merchant will feature local wines and cheeses, a vegetable-forward menu and fresh oysters. 

The former nursery site will come full circle with GATHER/ Urban Agriculture, an experiential nursery offering workshops.