After spending the last two years trying to get it off the ground, La Casita Mexicana will finally be opening the market add-on to their restaurant. Things took longer than expected for chef/owners Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo, beginning with a longstanding effort to buy the space directly next door to the the restaurant. Those owners were not interested in selling, and in fact still aren't.

The solution came in the form of their storage warehouse, located two doors down. Arvizu and del Campo decided to add in a wall, building a storefront facing the street, yet still leaving the requisite space behind for storage. “It should be open in about three weeks,” said del Campo.

Another part of the complicated process was ensuring that the products would meet the chefs' high standards. “We wanted to make sure that it had the authentic flavor,” continued Arvizu, who added that it was surprisingly difficult to get the food in the market tasting as it does in the restaurant, partially due to their refusal to use preservatives.

The shop, which will be called La Tiendita (“the little store”), will sell things like candy, spices, chiles, moles, and their own blend of seasoning salts, as well as t-shirts and aprons. They will also continue selling gift baskets from the shop, which can be purchased online.

They are currently using the new space for their regular television appearances on Univision, and plan to continue using it for workshops. They are considering the idea of teaching adult cooking classes there as well.

La Tiendita: 4034 Gage Ave., Bell; a phone line is in the works.

Noah Galuten can also be followed on Twitter via @ManBitesWorld.

LA Weekly