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Snapshot: Food court revamp

Food courts are moving out of the mall and getting dramatic makeovers as celebrity chefs and noted restaurateurs step in to provide a variety of gourmet treats. No longer considered a “last resort” option, these complexes have become dining destinations, and host everything from white tablecloth restaurants to grab-and-go stands that incorporate ethnic and regional specialties.

Santa Monica Place
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA

The new complex boasts an assortment of markets and vendors selling everything from protein to produce, based on the style of New York City’s Chelsea Market and San Francisco’s Ferry Terminal. What sets Santa Monica Place apart is the six chef-driven restaurants serving food under the stars on a rooftop dining deck. The options range from neo-Chinese at Xino from chef Chris Yeo, to upscale Mexican at La Sandia, the brainchild of celebrity chef Richard Sandoval.  

Food Parc
Eventi Hotel
New York City

The Jeffery Chodorow-owned, 20,000 square foot food court in the Eventi hotel features high tech ordering kiosks and several stands that cater to different tastes. Red Farm, a venture partnered with dim sum king Joe Ng, features dumplings and twists such as smoked bacon spring rolls. 3B features bacon, beer and burgers—and deep fried local McClune’s pickles. Food Parc guests can also grab a coffee and a paper at Press, or a Tuscan flatbread salad at Fanelli. The 20-ft. flatscreen TV and outdoor dining area offer more then the standard food court experience.

Eataly NYC
New York City

The 50,000 square foot Italian food complex hosts several restaurants, ranging from a seafood spot to a pasta counter and fresh mozzarella bar, plus markets selling everything from Italian kitchen equipment to imported roasted porcini mushrooms and salumi. Mario Batali teamed up with Lidia and Joe Bastianich and Eataly Italia founder Oscar  Farnetti to open the complex in September. The planned rooftop brewpub will be Manhattan’s first, from acclaimed American brewers Sam Caglione of Dogfish Head and Italian brew masters from Birra Del Borgo and Baladin.

The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English
The Plaza Hotel
New York City

Based on the sprawling European food hall concept, celebrity chef Todd English opened this 80-seat, 5400 square foot space offering both dine-in and take-away options from eight different stations. Serving everything from fresh sushi to stone hearth pizza and flat breads, the Plaza Food Hall also includes a housewares market, dumpling stand and wine bar. Cooking demos and wine tutorials are also in the works.

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