El Mercado is a grocery store and marketplace selling produce, herbs, spices, and more. Many of these ingredients are foods that you won't find at the average Stop and Shop. In addition to being a supermarket, there is a food court with four different restaurants inside the building. These include El Tepeyac, a Mexican restaurant, Antojitos Colombianos, which serves Colombian food, El Gran Dominicano, both Dominican and Puerto Rican, and a Peruvian restaurant, Autentico Sabor Peruano.
The front entrance to El Mercado - busy even on a Sunday morning!
Backstory and Context
Construction on El Mercado began in 1976, funded through a series of grants from the state. The Broad-Park Development Corporation spearheaded the project. El Mercado was preceded by other development around Park Street, making room for several new businesses. The building replaced a vacant lot. A local merchant's association expressed doubt about the project, insisting that the area had enough food stores as is, but together with the Broad-Park Development Corporation, they managed to come to compromises.
El Mercado is a way for people to connect to their cultures. For example, artist Constanza Segovia speaks of how seeing Argentinian foods for sale at El Mercado helped create a connection between her as an Argentinian and the wider city of Hartford.
Steve Walsh, “Mercado to Provide Marketplace on Park St.,” Frog Hollow Oral History, accessed March 10, 2022, https://action-lab.org/frog-hollow-oral-history/items/show/24.
Trinity College, “Interview with Constanza Segovia,” Watkinson Library and College Archives Virtual Museum, accessed March 10, 2022, https://trinitywatkinson.domains.trincoll.edu/virtualmuseum/items/show/18.