One step beyond the old mall food court, food halls are big business around the country
The food hall craze is creeping across America. Think upscale food, open kitchens, communal dining spaces, grab-and-go options and a focus on fresh, local food – all located under one roof. This isn’t a shopping mall food court.
Could Greenville and other Upstate cities jump on this bandwagon? The answer is a resounding “yes!” Last week, The Upstate Business Journal announced The Commons, a 40,000-square-foot space that will include the Feed & Seed, Community Tap and other businesses. This may very well be the first food hall concept for our area.
Here’s a look at few in other cities to get those creative juices flowing.
Eataly, New York City
When celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich opened the Italian-centric Eataly in 2010, it was touted as the first food hall in the U.S. There’s now a second location in Chicago and a third opening in 2016 in Boston (and other locations in Los Angeles and Manhattan). Eataly offers sit-down restaurants, walk-up counters, pop-up restaurant concepts, fresh produce and seafood counters, coffee cafes, on-site cooking classes and week night happy hours.
Central Food Hall at Ponce City Market, Atlanta
Located in the former Sears, Roebuck & Company building, Ponce City Market includes retail space, offices, residences, and the recently opened Central Food Hall. Twenty-two different vendors offer regional fare, global cuisine and handcrafted market goods, including fresh breads, meats, cheeses and spices.
St. Roch Market, New Orleans
After sitting dormant for years, the St. Roch Market re-opened in 2015 as a collective of 13 food-service entrepreneurs showcasing local produce, sundries and prepared foods from a diverse lineup of chefs. The market features local grocery items, a charcuterie, fresh-pressed juice and handcrafted cocktails, among others. Tuesday nights bring in live jazz music.
Avanti F&B, Denver
Inspired by European markets and food truck roundups, this modern-day food hall features seven different restaurant concepts, housed in modified shipping containers. Communal dining areas serve as a place to sample tortas, arepas, paella, udon noodles and more from local chefs. One of the two bars (including a rooftop bar with views of the city) and a lounge area are a great place to hang out and sample local craft beer or a classic cocktail.
Mercantile and Mash, Charleston, S.C.
With its grand opening held just last month (October 2015), this “gourmet food emporium” is located in the former Cigar Factory on East Bay Street. Mercantile and Mash features charcuterie, cheese, wine, baked goods, locally roasted coffee, grab-and-go items, gifts and cookware, and other gourmet food essentials.