Fans of street food in the North East are in for a treat with the opening of the newest section of Darlington Markets. As part of the ongoing work in the town centre, the indoor market has been refurbished to include a performance space, a dining area and several street food vendors.
The new area opened to the public on Friday 27th August, to great success. The opening was also part of the wider Darlington Food and Drink Festival over bank holiday weekend. This meant that many people got to enjoy the new areas: when I popped in over the opening weekend, it certainly looked to be a popular choice.
The largest queue seemed to belong to The Yorkie Wrap Company, one of the exciting new businesses inside the market. If that isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options to choose from including loaded fries from Spud Gun, burgers from What’s Your Beef? and an array of options from Taste of Budapest. Not forgetting Manao Thai and Fresco Street Pizza, there are currently six street food style vendors on offer in the Darlington indoor market. If you just want to pop in for a quick drink, there is also a very well stocked bar and plenty of seating for approximately 150 people.
Work on the new development has been ongoing for months as plans to update the existing market. Dating back to 1864, the original indoor market is certainly a distinctive feature in the town and many hope that this new offering will encourage plenty of customers – both old and new – to the building. Crucially, the market is still home to many independent retailers and so the projected footfall will hopefully help many local businesses in the aftermath of times of financial uncertainty.
Excitingly, there are also plans to use the space for live performances, particularly on Friday and Saturday evenings. It might not be long until the indoor market is also known for promoting the talent of local musicians, comedians and artists.
That is not all. This latest development is just phase one of three phases to update the historical building. All three aim to respect and promote the history of the venue but with modern updates for modern customers. While the expected timeline on this is not currently clear to the public, it is certainly an exciting prospect for those who relish the new food and drink scene that is beginning to bloom in Darlington.
I, for one, cannot wait to see how the indoor market becomes a staple hot spot in Darlington again.