By Nicole Hutchinson
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.
Market on Magnolia Eatery & Bar, 150 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando, FL 32801
You can go from wood-fired Margarita 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
Treats Food Hall at Aventura Mall, 19565 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura, FL 33180
Heralded by The Daily Meal as the best food court in Florida, Treats Food Hall promises guests a vast array of high-end eateries. You can indulge in bubble waffles-- a sinful, perfect-for-summer concoction filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with fresh berries-- at Little Brittany Crêperie; enjoy a taste of Paris at Ladurée; or celebrate everything fresh and organic at Poké. The Shake Shack, a modern-day “roadside” burger stand, delivers all-natural Angus beef burgers and flat-top Vienna beef dogs as well as spun-fresh frozen custard, crinkle-cut fries, craft beer and wine. Craving something else? Check out all of Treat’s eateries.
Sistrunk Marketplace, 115 Northwest 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33311
Scrumptious food! Craft beer! Artisan coffee! Art! Live music! You’ll find them all at this hip food hall, nestled in Fort Lauderdale's art district. This kid-friendly destination offers everything from cooking classes to a distillery and boutique shopping—as well as the star of the show, the food. Nellie's Southern Table concocts traditional temptations that include a BBQ Bourbon Brisket Grilled Cheese, Fried Bologna, and their Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit Sandwich; Hot Lime is a delicious reflection of the city’s eclectic cultural landscape, with fare like Peruvian ceviche, Argentinian tacos and fresh, made-to-order guacamole prepared counter-side; and family-owned Needa Pita creates authentic Mediterranean dishes using recipes from their small town on the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon. Here are more of Sistrunk’s temptations.
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.
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