A food hall “can only succeed if all of the operators work together and present a unified front for guests,” says Chris Jaskiewicz, COO of parent Gotham Organization, a real estate firm. For Gotham West Market, opened in November, that meant gathering “authentic New York chefs with track records, who shared a collaborative vision,” he says. The market began as a blank slate retrofitted for nine businesses. The company paid for the basic outfit, including refrigeration and the HVAC, while individual operators helped design their own areas. While the first few months have seen high traffic, it’s still a work in progress, says Jaskiewicz. Next up—improved signage. The space will add a visual roadmap to point out water, coffee and more.
Convenience is key
Located on the first floor of an apartment building, GWM was designed as an amenity for residents as well as a destination. It houses The Brooklyn Kitchen (above), a food and cookware store with a teaching kitchen, as well as an outpost of Velo, a bike shop offering bike tours and concierge bike service.
Hiding the dirty work
To make the hall “friendly” and visually appealing, says Jaskiewicz, a 5,000-square-foot below-ground grid conceals the traditional back-of-house equipment from guests. The public areas, he says, are designed with a “genuine, gritty, Hell’s Kitchen feel.” Stations feature polished concrete, black counters and reclaimed wood elements, and 85 speakers play music throughout. One element he’s tried to keep out—cold fluorescent lights.
With so many dining options, groups can order from different operators and converge at communal tables. Also in the area, a common bussing station is manned by on-staff porters (paid for by GWM). Food service operators collaborated with Gotham Organization during construction on other shared priorities, including a water station for guests. They’ve also pooled resources for shared dishwashers behind the scenes.