Florida Food Halls: It's All About Options, a Bit of Everything
By Nicole Hutchenson
One of the hottest trends in food and dining is the food hall. And Florida is riding this culinary wave, with halls popping up throughout the state.
So just what is a food hall, you ask?
Think food court on steroids. But this isn’t your typical collection of pizza joints and fast food tacos booths. In many cases, eateries in food halls are offshoots of some of the most popular restaurants and food trucks in town, and headed by well-respected chefs.
The first food halls are said to have originated in Europe. Over the last decade, the concept quickly caught on in North America. There are now an estimated 100 food halls nationwide, and that number is likely to double within the year, according to a study conducted by real estate company Cushman & Wakefield Inc.
The appeal boils down to options, said Jamal Wilson, developer of The Hall on Franklin, a full service Tampa food hall that opened in 2017.
“A new poke bowl. A new grilled cheese sandwich. A new cocktail,” Wilson said. “People want multiple options. They want a little bit of everything.”
The décor at The Hall is vintage glam meets speakeasy. Exposed brick and dark iron railings compliment glimmering chandeliers and bar stools with brass accents. The 8,000-square-foot space is the type of place you take out of towners, first dates, or a bros and girls night out.
There are seven different food concepts available to diners at The Hall -- each vendor has their own storefront. There’s one main menu. Diners can sit at a variety of seating throughout including high tops, couches and bars.
You come together but your order doesn’t have to be from the same place.
“It cuts down on food fatigue and makes dining more of an experience,” Wilson said.
Here are some other great options for a food hall experience in Florida:
Heights Public Market at Armature Works, 1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
In the early 1900s, Tampa Armature Works was the hub of the Tampa Electric streetcar system. Now it’s the vehicle for serving up some of Tampa’s best eats. The 73,000-square-foot mixed-use building consists of more than a dozen eateries, from butchered barbecue to gourmet cheese and wine. In addition to food, it features a retail market, and also provides private meeting and co-working space. Located along the city’s Riverwalk area, it’s a destination for those seeking good food and a great social scene.
Locale Gourmet Market, 179 2nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Located in the heart of St. Petersburg’s downtown, the Locale Gourmet Market is part high-end market and part food hall. You can choose from a variety of takeout options, including sushi, ramen, and baked goods along with dine-in options available at the full-service Italian restaurant FarmTable Cucina. The 20,000-square-foot market is called a “culinary experience” and occupies a space in the city’s SunDial shopping district. The location makes Locale Gourmet Market a perfect place to grab lunch or dinner.
Market on Magnolia Eatery & Bar, 150 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando, FL 32801
You can go from wood-fired Margherita pizza to a customized tuna poke bowl without leaving the premises at Market on Magnolia. While there are only three eateries at Market on Magnolia (also known as M.O.M), they provide the perfect nosh-fest for watching the big game, playing, and drinking a cocktail. The bar is a focal point at this food hall, and features more than 70 craft beers and more than 40 whiskeys. If you’re looking for a great place to grab a bite, watch a game and have a choice cocktail without the larger crowds at other food halls, Market on Magnolia is it.
Plant Street Market, 426 W. Plant St., Winter Garden, FL 34787
Plant Street Market will go down in Florida food hall history as a pioneer. The location includes food, brews, retail and a fresh market all under one roof. Try a specialty mac-n-cheese dish, handmade pierogi or a fresh donut. Plant Street is more than 12,000 square feet, and includes 20 food and retail vendors. On any given weekend you’ll find droves of people in the market enjoying live music and a glass or two of the market’s own brew. Did we mention Plant Street Market has its own brewery, called Crooked Can Brewing Company?
South Florida & Miami
Grandview Public Market, 1401 Clare Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Nothing stays the same at Grandview Public Market. And that’s on purpose. The West Palm Beach food hall has 13,000 square feet and features an ever-evolving roster of food choices. There are at any given time more than a dozen food options available at Grandview, including premium fried chicken, rolled ice cream and ramen noodles. Located off the beaten path in West Palm Beach’s warehouse district, Grandview provides a homey feel with front-porch seating and a pared-down interior. The food and connections are the main entrees at Grandview.
St. Roch Market, 140 NE 39th St Suite #241, Miami, FL 33137
Named one of hottest restaurants in Miami, St. Roch is a food hall that is as visually appealing as it is tasty. The interior at St. Roch is mostly white and express wood. An eye catching bar sits in the middle of the market. The outside is surrounded by a lush landscape. Located in Miami’s Design District, the food hall features 12-chef driven concepts that exemplify the cultural dynamics of Miami. There are Argentinian, Mediterranean and fresh seafood themes, to name a few. This is the second location for St. Roch, whose flagship food hall is in New Orleans. The Miami location is a place to be and be seen. The green mocha ice cream is a standout that is both bold and cool, just like its Miami location.