The Little Market lives again, and a Cambodian food truck launches 

Side Dish

The Little Market lives on

When the Little Market & Deli at 749 E. Willamette Ave. closed at 2013's end, so did the city's oldest grocery store, open since 1902. Folks had made proposals for projects since, and one viable idea was shot down by the neighborhood's concern for late-night noise and limited parking. Stakeholders wanted a new market and daytime endeavor, eventually approaching Blue Star Group's Joseph Coleman, who recently purchased the building along with Epicentral Coworking's owner Lisa Tessarowicz.

They've since leased to life and business partners Natalie Peck and Amy Emerson, each with many years in the food industry, from work at Burrowing Owl and Shuga's (Peck) to Wooglin's Deli and Mountain Mama's. The two plan to open Willamette Market & Deli around mid-August.

Peck says the market will "have one option of everything," from staple foods to toiletries, with the caveat that everything be "the best combination of organic, regional and sustainable products." They plan to house-bake their own breads, purvey other fine pastries, and sell to-go deli items like soups and salads. The deli menu will center on grass-fed meat and vegan hot dogs with various toppings — 80 percent of the deli menu will be vegan-friendly.

WM&D needs around $80,000 to launch, hence an upcoming Indiegogo campaign plus an offering of 18 investor shares for $4,000 each, with a planned 10 percent return, 20 percent discount for life, and modest profit share until payoff. Attend a community meeting at the market at 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 13, to learn more.

A Cambodian cart

The Springs' first Cambodian eatery debuted last week on Pikes Peak Community College's Rampart Range Campus. (Side note: PPCC didn't renew its Sodexo contract, opting instead to "move away from national corporate food to local," says media rep Warren Epstein.)

Awaken (465-8439) arrives via 35-year-old former Army cook Chhaya Phat. He bills Awaken's menu as a blend of traditional Cambodian fare and French-influenced plates — the country having been a French colony from the mid 19th to 20th centuries. But there's also a nod to contemporary American influence in the form of several vegan options. One is a lime leaf curry and tofu dish, and another is a curry-marinated vegan "chick'n" topped with cabbage, cilantro and plant-based mayo on a baguette.

Carnivores will appreciate num pang sandwiches, similar to Vietnamese bánh mì. Phat says one distinguishing feature is the Vietnamese tendency to garnish with daikon and carrots, while Cambodians opt for shredded green papaya, like that which composes Thai som tum salads. Also look for grilled tilapia with sweet garlic chili sauce and drinks like Cambodian iced coffee plus regular or mint house lemonade.

The truck's name and design pay homage to the Angkor Wat temples and Cambodia's predominant Buddhist culture.

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