How a desolate space became the delicious 30th St Market.
When Andrea Koester walked into what is now 30th St. Market, she had to use a lot of imagination. The building at 407 NW 30th St. in OKC, originally a warehouse of some kind, had been sitting vacant — with the exception of a rustic art studio — for decades, and the dilapidation was advanced.
“It was a blank space,” Koester said. “There was no heat or air conditioning and no running water, but (my husband) Josh wanted it because he loved the potential patio.”
The couple spent months planning during the COVID shutdown, and they talked through their concerns about operating a market.
“I’ve seen really good markets fail, so it’s not a sure thing,” Koester said. “We agreed that to have any chance of success, it needed a restaurant component.”
So on April 1, 2022, Koester and partners opened the market with a food counter, coffee service, wines by the glass, groceries from Oklahoma producers, an excellent wine list from local distributors and the patio that Koester’s husband Josh Gautreaux wanted, tucked into the space out front (south side of the building) to take advantage of the shelter from north and west winds.
“We knew all the pieces we wanted to have, and so what you see is pretty much what was in my head when we talked through the plan and walked the space,” Koester said. “The only real change is that we had to expand the retail wine selection because it sold much faster than I anticipated.”
Koester has a solid history in hospitality, including a stint as the catering manager for Big Truck Tacos. She also owns Holey Rollers and Red Rooster, which are in the Paseo Arts District alongside the market. During her brief stint at Urban Agrarian from 2015 to 2017, she formed relationships with food producers from all over Oklahoma, several of which are now in the cold case just to the left as you walk in the door.
“I always order extra because we end up pulling from the inventory to supplement the kitchen,” Koester said.
That kitchen functions smoothly with a staff of about 10. They use the ovens at Holey Rollers for now to bake fresh bread every day — one of the best parts of the sandwich program — but the new in-house kitchen with a full bakery should be open by late May this year.
That kitchen produces some of the city’s best food, from the remarkably good pastrami sandwich to a childhood favorite, a sausage and egg sandwich on a fresh English muffin with house-made jam, to the Italian on fresh ciabatta or the vegetarian-friendly Sweets and Beets. The breads are outrageously good: milk bread, sourdough, focaccia, ciabatta, etc., are all baked fresh, as are the cookies and sweets. The miso peanut butter cookie could win a cookie Super Bowl. Koester always keeps plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on her menus, and though it’s not made in-house, there is one gluten-free bread for sandwiches.
Koester spent years as a wine rep, too, so her sense of what’s good, trending, current and even edgy is solid, and that means you’ll find a quirky, progressive wine selection. She even has a three- bottle-a-month wine club with an educational component. One of the partners keeps a Celestial Cycles shop in the back of the market, so Koester has utilized as much of the space as creatively as possible to generate multiple revenue streams. It’s a very smart use of the renovated space, but you are, after all, primarily here for a sandwich and a cookie.