Consistent with the unyielding rise of fast-, fine- and polished-casual dining, food halls are booming as consumers buy into the concept of higher-quality, customizable eats at a slightly higher price point. Even as malls are dying (ubiquitous retail anchor Macy’s just announced it’s closing 35 to 40 stores early next year), the common-space dining culture is alive and well, increasingly in office and residential buildings. Mario Batali’s Eataly (with two locations in the U.S. and three more in the works) may be the most famous of these market-slash-food emporiums, but more key players—and in cities beyond New York—continue to enter the ring.
Footprint: 10,000 sq. ft
No. of concepts: Up to 10
Buzz: Tenants in the city’s first indoor food hall are outposts of Portland’s hipster hotspots, including a brewpub, coffee shop and hot-dog stand.
Concept to scout: Marukin, the first U.S. location for this Japanese ramen chain.
No. of concepts: Seven
Who’s behind it: Restaurateur Patrick O’Neill and developer Rob Hahn.
Buzz: Part food hall, part incubator, it dubs itself “a collective eatery”; operators can rent stalls—all modified shipping containers—for one to two years—as testing concepts is the idea.
Concept to scout: Its two large bars, each with 20 beer taps.
Footprint: 22,000 sq. ft., food and retail space
No. of concepts: 12 Latin-inspired stations and restaurants.
Who’s behind it: Restaurateur Richard Sandoval (his only Chicago venture).
Buzz: While Sandoval originally scoffed at being labeled the Latin Eataly, he’s reportedly come around, given the latter’s enormous popularity in Chicago.
Concepts to scout: A 60-seat tapas concept from Iron Chef Jose Garces.
New York City
Footprint: 100,000 sq. ft.
No. of vendors: 100
Who’s behind it: Anthony Bourdain
Buzz: Not a food court, but a real market, he told Men’s Journal. “As a proud New Yorker, I’m sort of pissed that we don’t have it already. Why can’t we have what Singapore or Hong Kong has?”
More to come in NYC
Jean-Georges Vongerichten will spearhead a 40,000-square-foot seafood-focused food hall in the reimagined South Street Seaport opening in 2017.
Rumors in May had Danny Meyer negotiating a deal to open a new food hall at Hudson Yards; little more has leaked since then, and Meyer has played coy.
Opened: Late August
Footprint: 300,000 sq. ft., food and retail space
No. of concepts: 10 as of late September, with four more opening by mid-November.
Who’s behind it: Real estate operator Jamestown, owner of Chelsea Market, one of New York City’s early iconic food/market halls.
The buzz: Atlanta’s second food hall to open in the last year (Krog Street Market launched last November), Ponce City serves up a mix of counter-service and full-service concepts in partnership with local and national chefs.