November 16th 2023: So on the 2nd day of the soft opening of Northgate Costa Mesa or Mercardo Gonzalez by Northgate as its properly called i decided to sneak in for a quick look. You could walk straight in but the crowds inside were big i tried not to stick my camera in peoples faces so for now you will have to make do with the few quick shots i took.
The 20 food stalls around the store were doing a brisk business there was lines but none too long as people wanted to try out the various hot food options. As you walk where the people were walking in this picture you walk towards a back section with the restaurant, outdoor bar patio and a huge area of tables for eating your food from the stalls. All seats were taken as free live music was going on on a stage above the seats and, tables.
The Tortilleria just inside the door was doing a brisk business selling just made warm tortillas in various sizes from its front counter. The picture above was snapped when a larger group of people had just moved on.
Most people visiting right now were looking for hot fresh prepared food to eat on the site not doing their regular shopping or looking to take hot food home. My guess is when the initial crowds die down it will be become more balanced with a mixture of people eating onsite, taking hot food to go or doing their normal grocery shopping. But i think many of them will take hot tortillas on the way out either way.
As you walk in your see the large fruit and vegetable selection that Northgate Markets are known for with the stalls around it. Apart from the prepared to order items you could order at the various market stalls many also had pre prepared colds items you could grab and take to the regular Northgate registers at the front of the store. I heard a few people complain about the prices of these items but with prices in the current climate its tough to compare them to similar items; Especially with the freshness of the items comparing it to regular supermarket items.
As you see in the picture above there is also a artisan section with many craft items, many people were looking but i didn’t see them buying items; This might be more as this was the first time checking out the new store there were more just exploring what the store offered.
Above is a picture of Maizano there onsite restaurent that has about 50 seats inside a bar and as you can see a small outside patio for guests. The restaurant with its Mexican corn based dishes, according to its staff has a two week waiting list for reservations so if true i would book your table in advance if you want to visit.
On the far left hand side of the supermarket is the traditional Northgate supermarket as well as a liquor store specializing in alcohol products made in Mexico.
The registers at the front of the store were a breeze to get out with many cashiers and, self service quick checkouts. Because this is the grand opening week i’m sure there is more staff than a normal week so we will have to see how things run on a more normal week.
Location: 2300 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa CA 92626 Phone: (949) 238-6470
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