November 19th, 2014

The Food Hall and the Social Club: Trend to Watch?

Posted in About Allison, New Foods and Flavors, Restaurants, Trends


Food halls are becoming more and more popular and it’s no wonder. With the convenience of multiple restaurants and specialty shops all in one place, it is easy to see the appeal.  Typically, the food hall is set apart from a typical food court or restaurant by the fact that each stall may serve one or two items and do them very well. The mix of artisan packaged goods and tantalizing smells can lead the consumer on a multi-cultural gastronomic adventure.

The food hall is making a splash, and a big one at that, with the much anticipated opening of Anthony Bourdain’s food hall. At this time it is touting up to 50 restaurant stands. The location and stalls are being kept under wraps with an anticipated opening in 2016. And let’s not forget about the recent opening of the Chicago outpost of Mario Batali’s Eataly, an homage to all products Italian (the cheese section alone is worth the visit).

Here are a few food halls that are worth a mention:

Gotham West Market: Located in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, the market features 8 stalls featuring products from the likes of Jeni’s Ice Cream, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Ivan’s Slurp Shop. Opening last fall, the market takes up 10,000 square feet on the bottom floor of a 554 unit luxury apartment building.


Stir Market:  In a slightly different format, Stir Market offers “a modern California take on the classic European food hall experience, offering a variety of culinary choices where you can meet, dine and shop in an intimate setting. The market hall mixes epicurean retail space and a casual restaurant represented by distinctive specialty food stalls” (Website). Located in Los Angeles, it includes an espresso bar, a European rotisserie, and a craft beer and wine bar.


Gansevoort Market: Just opened on October 14th of this year, the market is in a historic building in New York’s Meatpacker’s District and features a salumeria, sushi, creperie and lobster bar among its offerings.


The Hall: Dubbed a “super pop-up” that opened at the end of September in San Francisco, the Hall is equipped with a large prep kitchen and a stall for each vendor. Community picnic tables abound inside and out. Look for vendors “including an Anchor Steam bar, a fish market, a wine shop, and restaurants offering Moroccan-Peruvian fusion, Vietnamese pho, barbecue, cold-brewed coffee and pastries”. The “super pop-up” will be torn down in two years as it was built as a solution to delayed permitting issues which were preventing businesses from moving forward with construction.



Oxbow Public Market: With over 30 restaurants and specialty shops, the Oxbow Market occupies 40,000 sq. ft. of market space in the Oxbow district of Napa Valley. Expect charcuterie from the Fatted Calf and burgers from iconic road stand Gott’s Roadside.




Social clubs follow a slightly different format. Instead of focusing on strictly food-related experiences, these venues seek to provide complete entertainment, often including bowling alleys, bocce, swimming pools, and other sports-minded activities intermixed with quality food and cocktail programs.

Pinewood Social: This is a social club in Nashville that includes a coffee bar, dining, an outdoor pool area complete with an airstream bar, bowling alleys, a bocce ball court and living room. The kitchen is helmed by Chef Josh Harbiger, formerly of The Catbird Seat, and features food in the sharing format with whole fried chicken or pot roast to serve 4-6 with accompanying sides.

Punch Bowl Social: With locations in Austin, TX, Portland, OR, and Denver, CO, Punchbowl Social showcases gastro-pub food and an artisan cocktail program. Activities include shuffleboard, bowling, private karaoke and darts among its varied activities.


So, what do you think? Will food and entertainment hybrid concepts be the future of foodservice?