The food hall boom is in full swing. A far cry from the suburban shopping mall food courts that hit their stride in the 1970s and are now falling into decline, these multi-faceted, typically indoor markets showcasing a variety of local food vendors and artisans have long been a tradition in Europe — and they're finally hitting it big in America, with a surge of new projects that have opened in the past year and plenty more on the way.
A far cry from the suburban shopping mall food courts that hit their stride in the 1970s, these multi-faceted, typically indoor markets are finally hitting it big in America
Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich blazed the trail for the new era of American food halls back in 2010, when they opened the first stateside location of the wildly popular, high-end Italian food hall Eataly in New York City. Like its European counterparts, the American outposts of Eataly offer a convenient, stylish way to both shop and eat-in by combining a multitude of restaurants, artisan products, and communal dining spaces under one roof. Eataly is now on a major American expansion tear; following a 2013 debut in Chicago, it's got new outlets coming to Boston and LA, plus another one on the way for Manhattan's 4 World Trade Center development.
While coastal pillars New York and Los Angeles already have several food halls each (most famously, NYC's Gotham West Market and LA's revamped Grand Central Market) and more on the way, the rest of the country isn't far behind. In April, New Orleans saw the reopening of St. Roch Market, a food hall that had laid dormant for a decade; it's now home to an incredible scope of vendors, from a craft cocktail bar and a coffee roaster to a butcher, an oyster bar, and cuisines ranging from Creole to Korean. Meanwhile in Seattle, which already boasts the iconic Pike Place Market as well as the younger Melrose Market, Chophouse Row opened in May in an old auto parts shop with a microshop for farm-fresh cheese and ice cream, a juice bar, and a full-service restaurant, with a bakery and more concepts on the way.
Here now, a look at food halls to come:
New York City
Already in town: Portland Mercado
Already in town: Bottega Americano