Emerging Brands

Craveworthy Brands opens a food hall in Chicago

The owner of Budlong Southern Chicken and a dozen other brands is the new operator of Hayden Hall, a downtown food hall that closed during the pandemic.
Craveworthy Kitchen at Hayden Hall Chicago
Craveworthy Kitchen at Hayden Hall will house eight Craveworthy concepts. | Photo courtesy of Craveworthy Brands

Craveworthy Brands, the concept collector that owns The Budlong Southern Chicken, Genghis Grill and about a dozen other restaurant brands, is opening a food hall in downtown Chicago.

Craveworthy Kitchen at Hayden Hall today houses five Craveworthy-owned brands, including Budlong, Krafted Smashburgers, Lucky Cat Poke Co. and Pastizza Pizza & Pasta. 

A new breakfast concept, Scramblin’ Ed’s, is also making its debut, and three more, including a full-service restaurant, are in the works. 

Hayden Hall is on the second floor of 333 S. Wabash Ave., a skyscraper known as “Big Red” for its red exterior. The food hall was developed by Chicago-based DMK Restaurants and opened in early 2020, but closed soon after due to the pandemic. Craveworthy is its first tenant since the shutdown.

The 25,000-square-foot food hall features food court-style bays as well as a coffee shop and a full-service restaurant, which Craveworthy will open in the coming months. Five stalls are open now, and Craveworthy is planning a grand opening in late summer or early fall.

The food hall will serve tenants of the building, which include Northern Trust and the Chicago Housing Authority, as well as workers from other nearby offices. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, though the coffee shop and Scramblin’ Ed’s open at 8. 

It is the latest move for the busy Craveworthy, which was founded in 2022 by former Jimmy John’s CEO Gregg Majewski. It has been scooping up brands left and right since then, most recently adding Taim Mediterranean Kitchen, Hot Chicken Takeover and Sigri Indian BBQ.

The so-called platform company is focused on developing small and mid-size brands into national players via franchising. It is aiming to reach $1 billion in systemwide sales in the next five years and is on the lookout for more brands.

Craveworthy Kitchen will allow it to showcase some of its portfolio in one place.

“This venture underscores our relentless commitment to innovation, empowering our brands to thrive in new markets and staying ahead of trends in the evolving space,” said Majewski, now Craveworthy's CEO. “Offering an unparalleled culinary experience like this in an area that is bursting with flavor is a significant milestone for our company.”

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