Set to open next week in downtown Chicago, Revival Food Hall had one requirement for all of its operators: They had to be totally different from one another. Unlike the Italian- or Hispanic-theme food halls, Revival set out to capture a wide swath of downtown diners—in an area with very high lunch traffic—by compiling a list of stalls from already-existing Chicago restaurants that range from tacos and toasts to barbecue and poke. During a preview of the hall, operators showed off some ideas that resonate with the grab-and-go crowd in a rush during lunch hours.
1. Charcuterie-inspired sandwiches
Danke, an offshoot of Chicago’s Alpine-theme Table, Donkey and Stick, is taking advantage of diners’ love for cured meats—but turning it into a format more conducive to the on-the-go lunch crowd. The food stall is marketing its sandwich menu as charcuterie-inspired, fitting pates, salamis, gourmet spreads and other toppings normally found on a board between slices of bread. For the happy hour crowd (2:30 p.m. and later), Danke does offer a more traditional charcuterie plate option to go along with its 12 wines.
2. Recycled napkin holders
Instead of the traditional metal dispensers, Antique Taco Chiquito uses recycled cardboard produce cartons to offer up napkins. The look was both casual and eco-friendly; plus, it made grabbing napkins easy for guests in line. One consideration, though: The taco stall made sure to use only the clean, sturdy containers that were in the best shape. Fortunately, they are easy to replace when one carton gets worn down.
3. Pastry by the inch
At RCB Bakery, run by James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal, bar-style cookies are offered by the inch instead of by the piece. The sweets sell for $3 per inch, so diners can order the exact amount they want, whether it’s a quick one-inch treat on the way out (RCB is located near one of Revival’s doors) or several inches for a larger sweet tooth.