America’s Next Great Public Markets and Food Halls

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America’s Next Great Public Markets and Food Halls
A new wave of public markets and food halls is sweeping the country, and while some are in cities you might expect, such as Portland, Oregon and New York City, others are in places you might not. Omaha’s first food hall opened late last year and Lexington, Kentucky will get its first public market—on a historic farm—next spring. Propelling this communal way of dining are sophisticated diners, urban revitalization projects, and a desire to give chefs and restaurateurs a low-cost way to get their concepts off the ground. Although these markets may not have been first, they all have a unique point of view and personality.
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    For the Gourmet Guru
    Pine Street MarketPortland

    Located a few blocks from the Portland Waterfront in a 100-year-old brick building, the Pine Street Market is industrial and rustic with exposed ceilings and communal tables of repurposed wood. Many of Portland’s most famous chefs and restaurateurs have coveted space here, but don’t expect a repeat of their popular restaurants. At Wiz Bang Bar, the people behind Salt & Straw twirl up cones of soft-serve nostalgia with flavors like vanilla custard and Woodblock chocolate. At John Gorham’s Pollo Bravo, diners pick up rotisserie chicken brined in carrot juice. Do not miss the buzzed-about burger at Common Law with green curry aioli.

    Photo by Alan Weiner
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    The Better Mall Meal
    Flagship CommonsOmaha

    Omaha’s new Flagship Commons, located in the Westroads Mall, is delivering much more sophisticated fare then the typical food court. It looks the part, too, with an interior wrapped in reclaimed barn wood, plus communal seating and a fireplace. Diners can choose from a variety of dishes from falafel and kabobs to healthy Yum Yum bowls and fair-trade certified Stubborn soda. Each of the nine different dining concepts sports its own look and feel. The Mexican street food eatery Juan Taco incorporates an Airstream trailer, and Yoshi-Ya Ramen has red penny-tile walls and hanging lanterns.

    Courtesy of Flagship Commons
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    The Neighborhood Game Changer
    Ponce City Market, Atlanta

    Located on the Atlanta BeltLine, a former railway line under conversion to a multi-use trail, this new city market and food hall is part of a major effort to revitalize the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. The new development is housed in the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building and offers shopping, offices, and apartments as well as a Central Food Hall. Tech workers and entrepreneurs come for a range of options from James Beard Award–winning chefs such as Linton Hopkins and Anne Quatrano. Try Indian street food like a chicken tikka wrap at Botiwalla, the Cubano sandwich at El Super Pan, and all natural air-dried biltong, a sort of gourmet jerky from South Africa, at the Biltong Bar.

    Photo by Sarah Dorio
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    The Pretty Face
    St. Roch Market, New Orleans

    This year-old food hall in a historic seafood market features soaring ceilings and white columns—but it’s not just aesthetics that make it a success. St. Roch shines a light on the varied local food available in New Orleans, and in many cases diners can meet the chef behind their meal. A place for local entrepreneurs to develop their concepts and try new things, the market offers such interesting quick eats as T2 Streetfood’s Vietnamese tacos served on roti—like the Bubba Blue with steamed jumbo gulf shrimp, pico de gallo, and sweet garlic chili sauce—and the Haitian fare at Fritai. The Fritai sandwich replaces bread with fried plantains and is filled with homemade relish, roasted pork, avocado, and mango habanero sauce; it’s a must-try.

    Photo by Rush Jagoe
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    The Comeback Kid
    The Cigar Factory, Charleston

    Charleston’s Cigar Factory is not a food hall per se, but a carefully curated community of shops, restaurants, and businesses in one of Charleston’s landmark buildings. The Cigar Factory, built in 1881, has been a textile factory, cotton mill, and cigar factory before being abandoned for many years. The impressive building's large windows offer views of the harbor; the worn interior has distressed brick walls and wood ceilings. Businesses worth visiting include Fritz Porter, a home décor shop, and Mercantile and Mash, a restaurant with a “food emporium” feel. It has a gourmet sandwich bar serving a croque monsieur on a brioche bun, as well as a bakery and a craft beer bar. More dining concepts are on the way, including an oyster bar from Rappahannock Oyster Company.

    Photo by Andrew Cebulka
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    The Chef Incubator
    The Pizitz Food Hall, Birmingham

    Birmingham’s historic Pizitz building in downtown, originally an iconic department store, will be reopening as a mixed-use development this fall with 143 loft-style apartments and the city’s first food hall. The Pizitz Food Hall will give up-and-coming chefs a chance to get started: One stall will be reserved for experimental concepts and will be rotated on a regular basis. Otherwise, the market will combine southern-inspired fare with international cuisine. The bloggers behind What to Eat in Birmingham are helping to curate the collection of vendors that will offer everything from shrimp and grits to dim sum. The project architects, Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio, also designed the popular Krog Street Market in Atlanta, so expect a lively communal space that keeps the historic 1920s architecture intact.

    Courtesy of Bayer Properties
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    The Farm-Chic Food Hall
    The Barn at the Summit at Fritz Farm, Lexington, KY

    Located on a 60-acre farm dating back to the Revolutionary War, Lexington’s first food hall will open in March 2017. Part of a mixed-use development, The Summit at Fritz Farms will include nine vendors and incorporate architectural elements from the farm’s original tobacco barns as well as an outdoor terrace by garden designer Jon Carloftis. Lexington has a vibrant student population and four million visitors annually who come to see horse races and travel the Bourbon Trail. The Barn will embrace local chefs and have an herb and vegetable garden for their use.

    Courtesy of Bayer Properties
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    The Well-Rounded Market
    Liberty Public Market, San Diego

    David Spatafore, the restaurateur behind San Diego’s new Liberty Public Market, says he didn’t just want to offer a food hall, but a true market where locals can pick up fresh fish, locally grown produce, and gourmet food to eat on site or on the go. The new market in San Diego’s historic Naval Training Center accomplishes all that with diverse vendors, including an artisanal butcher, cheese shop, local coffee roaster, and empanada maker. The market occupies the training center’s former commissary; the 22,000 square-foot space features vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and 50-year-old murals of ships. Enjoy San Diego’s famously good weather by grabbing a coconut curry chicken sausage and a side of skin-on Mastiff fries at Mastiff Sausage Company and taking a seat on the patio, shaded by olive trees.

    Courtesy of Liberty Public Market
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    The Melting Pot
    Bourdain MarketNew York City

    Anthony Bourdain’s much anticipated market is slated to open sometime next year at Chelsea’s Pier 57. The massive market with over 100 vendors will feature some of his favorite eats from around the world and include fishmongers, butchers, bakers, and at least one full-service restaurant. Although the vendors have not been finalized, the names of those rumored to be involved include April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, who own the Spotted Pig and the Breslin, and Sabina Bandera of the legendary La Guerrerense raw seafood cart in Ensenada. Roman & Williams, the firm behind the Ace Hotel NY, is handling the design that will reportedly have an Asian night market feel.

    Photo by Casey Chiotti
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    The Indie Choice
    Revival Food Hall, Chicago

    This 24,000 square-foot food hall in the heart of The Loop will bring the best of Chicago dining to one place when it opens this summer. Located on the ground floor of The National, a 1907 Daniel Burnham–designed building, the eateries include Antique Taco Chiquito, a “farmers’ market style” taco spot, Tokyo-style ramen from a Michelin star chef at Furious Spoon, and housemade charcuterie and bread at Danke. In the center of the space, the restaurant and venue 16” On Center will operate a multi-roaster coffee shop, a full bar, and a record store. Local artisans Dock 6 Collective, a group of independent furniture and cabinet makers, will be handling much of the food hall’s furniture, fixtures, and metalwork.

    Courtesy of Blue Star Properties
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    The Late-Night Spot
    Conservatory, Houston

    Downtown diners can escape the notorious Houston heat and humidity by slipping into this curated food hall and beer garden below Prohibition Supperclub & Bar. The 7,500 square-foot basement space with 60 beer taps promotes up-and-coming chefs and vendors include Melange Creperie, a French crêpe maker, El Burro & the Bull serving Texas-style barbecue from pitmaster John Avila, and authentic Greek food like roasted chicken with lemon, garlic, and rosemary at Myth Kafe. The industrial food hall is filling another need in downtown Houston—late-night dining. It’s open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

    Photo by William Hardin
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