Forget what you know about the food court; there’s a new definition on the rise. What once conjured images of chain restaurants and fast food is being reinvented as the latest trend in culinary culture: the food hall, a haven for artisanal and specialty purveyors, buzzy food stalls and upscale restaurants.
“I think there's a real appetite for more low-impact, more casual, yet good-quality meal options,” says culinary expert Anthony Bourdain, who is planning to open his own global food hall in New York. “That goes along with a shift in dining habits in general. On one hand, we demand more variety, better quality, more options. On the other, we seem fatigued with the conventions and time investment of a multi-course, full-service meal.”
Each of our favorite newcomers offers a singular take on the trend. For Union Market in Washington, D.C., and the forthcoming Krog Street Market in Atlanta, local fare takes precedence as up-and-comers get their first brick-and-mortar locations. Big-name chefs and entrepreneurs continue to expand their empires to other cities, like Mario Batali’s new Eataly outpost in Chicago. And single-concept hubs, like chef Richard Sandoval’s soon-to-open Latin American mecca in the Windy City, keep a tight focus.