All Under One Roof
Artegon Marketplace is the newest destination for handcrafted items and artwork.
Seattle has Pike Place, Boston has Faneuil Hall, and now Orlando has Artegon Marketplace, the largest daily indoor market in the state.
At the heart of the 1.1 million square foot center is the Village, composed of 165 local artisans selling and demonstrating their products, from vegan soaps, handmade chocolates, Florida taffy and house-made hot sauce to original art, custom clothing, eco-friendly handbags and blown glass.
“We wanted to connect Artegon to Florida not only for people who live here, but obviously we’re on International Drive so we’ll get a significant amount of tourists, and we really wanted to highlight the talents of Central Florida,” says general manager Thearon Scurlock. “Guests can discover authentic local culture and take home a handmade treasure and lasting memento of their trip to Orlando.”
If you’re thinking flea market, don’t. Project developers transformed the old Festival Bay Mall at the north end of International Drive into a modern, industrial space by removing bulky storefront façades and uncovering the building’s original features like weathered steel, wooden beams and exposed brick. Each artisan was assigned a funky metal stall and a merchandise designer to help them display their products in a boutique-like setting. The result is a fresh and modern take on an indoor mall that makes shopping for hundreds of local products convenient and simple.
The concept is not only good for shoppers but for small businesses, as well. Wendy Davis, chef and owner of Poca’s Hottest Sauces, had been looking for the right venue to launch her business.
“I considered other places, but none of them seemed right because of the investment, the location or the down payment,” says Davis. “But Artegon is in an awesome location, and the timing is really perfect.”
Davis created her first sauce, Junkie Rush Thai Chili, in honor of her husband’s band. She has since asked other local bands and artists to design her labels, and she creates a custom sauce to match. Recently, her Shack Nasti Cajun Honey Mustard won third place in the World Hot Sauce Competition in Louisiana.
“I grow all my own ingredients, like the different peppers and herbs, or I source them from a local farm,” she says. “I don’t use any preservatives.”
Just outside the marketplace is a large, grassy plaza that provides an outdoor area for shoppers. Guests are invited to linger on the lawn with free WiFi, an array of food trucks and performing artists.
Other new additions to Artegon Marketplace include two big names in dining and entertainment. Country music superstar Toby Keith opened his first restaurant in Florida at the center. The I Love This Bar & Grill features live music, American favorites like burgers, steak and ribs, a signature guitar-shaped bar that seats 150 and a stage for country acts.
Berghoff’s, the famous bar that opened right after the end of Prohibition, also has opened its first location outside of Chicago at Artegon. Berghoff’s Octoberfest, which opens in the spring, will serve craft beer brewed on site in a German-style beer hall.