Over the din of sizzling butter and the occasional butcher’s chop at Grandview Public Market in West Palm Beach, developer Chris Vila is describing how his plan to build a small chicken shack blossomed into one of South Florida’s buzziest culinary trends: a food hall.
A New York transplant to Palm Beach and son of home-remodeling TV star Bob Vila (“This Old House”), Vila says he abandoned plans for the chicken joint once he found a worthy investment in West Palm Beach’s growing Warehouse District, a dense industrial neighborhood off I-95 and Okeechobee Boulevard. Three years later, Vila’s sophisticated foodie village, Grandview Public Market, will have its grand opening on Tuesday, Feb. 20.
“Ten years ago, if you drove through here, you’d just keep driving. Now, we’re on the tip of everyone’s tongue,” Vila says between mouthfuls of a Korean-style fried-chicken sandwich bought from Clare’s, a Southern-style chicken restaurant inside Grandview. The sandwich is topped with black-garlic aioli and kimchi slaw on a potato roll. “Food halls are a new revelation to people who want chef-driven food and to chefs who need a runway to launch their restaurants.”
Boasting cavernous, open-floor plans, exotic ingredients, a paralyzing lineup of restaurant vendors and upscale dishes prepared by chefs in front of patrons’ eyes, food halls such as Grandview are surging in popularity across South Florida, with 10 such emporiums scheduled to open before the end of 2018. The bounty of food halls began in 2010 with chef Mario Batali’s Eataly, an Italian food hall in New York’s Flatiron District, inspiring marketplaces in Atlanta, Chicago, Portland and Los Angeles.
If the concept sounds familiar, know that food halls are a hybrid of two American classics: the shopping-mall food court and the public outdoor market. The number of food halls in America was 105 in 2016 and is predicted to double by 2019 in the U.S., according to a July Wall Street Journal article.
The beauty of a food hall is choice. Craving Taiwanese hand-rolled ice cream, poke bowls and Chinese barbecue in the same place? Try 1-800-Lucky, an Asian food hall in Wynwood. On the hunt for a 48-day dry-aged rib-eye, bottles of Pinot Grigio, espresso and a cooking classroom? They’re at La Centrale, a three-story Italian marketplace in Brickell.
“This is the democratization of fine dining,” says Didier Souillat, CEO of Time Out Market Miami, a food hall opening summer 2018 at Miami Beach’s touristy Lincoln Road Mall. “It’s what millennials are asking for now. They want variety, change and great quality food at low prices. We take a lot of the financial burdens away from chefs who can’t afford big retail spaces, because our kitchens are small and affordable.”
Belly up to these 10 South Florida food halls.
Grandview Public Market
1401 Clare Ave., West Palm Beach; 561-771-6100 or GrandviewPublic.com
Who they are: Opening Feb. 20, this 14,000-square-foot food hall is the brainchild of developer Chris Vila.
The cuisine: Twelve vendors are spread out inside Grandview, the largest of which is Clare’s, a Southern-style chicken restaurant. Other notables: Celis Produce, a farm-to-table grocer; Grace’s Fine Foods, a butcher offering prepared foods; Rabbit Coffee, serving cold-brew coffee, espresso drinks, teas and bagels; and Crema, a Taiwanese bubble-tea bar offering rolled ice-cream bars.
Hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily, and Grandview will offer limited soft-opening hours 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 17-19
701 S. Miami Ave., Suite 181-C, Miami; 305-720-2401 or LaCentraleMiami.com
Who they are: First off, it’s pronounced “Lah-chen-TRAL-ay,” and this three-story marketplace is an ambitious bundling of cuisine from 20 Italian regions, from pasta to gelato. The 38,000-square-foot, Eataly-style food hall from restaurateur Jacopo Giustiniani and hospitality industry vet Matthias Kiehm bills itself a “retail theater,” where patrons can spot chefs preparing dishes, then buy the same ingredients in the market. “It ought to be an experience, evoking emotions, which you can’t get at other food halls,” Kiehm says.
The cuisine: The ground floor features the rustic fast-casual Pizza E Pasta and the Sicilian-inspired Caffé, while the second floor houses a trio of sit-down restaurants: the seafood-themed Pesce, meat-friendly Carne and the vegetarian Stagionale. They share space with Venchi, a chocolate and gelato shop. The third floor holds a wine shop and enoteca with 4,000 wines, mostly from Italy.
Hours: 7 a.m.-midnight daily
Casa Tua Cucina
70 SW Seventh St., Miami; 305-755-0320 or CasaTuaCucina.com
Who they are: Unlike other food halls bearing a motley of food purveyors, Casa Tua Cucina is all about Miky Grendene’s Casa Tua brand. The owner of the Miami Beach boutique Casa Tua inn, private club and restaurant opened this touch-of-Italy outpost in December inside Brickell Saks Fifth Avenue.
The cuisine: Prices vary from moderate ($11 for pizza) to ultra-expensive ($140 for Tomahawk steak), offering dishes such as Wagyu rib-eye and cacio e pepe with pecorino-and-pepper sauce. Other vendors bring bakeries, a juice-and-salad bar, a charcuterie station and crudo and grill area. “I consider myself an eater around the world, so if I can allow food from Italy and Spain, I’ll do that,” Grendene says. “People stay for hours here because there’s so much cuisine. You can’t overstay your welcome.”
Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
1050 NW 14th St., Miami; Jackson Hall on Facebook
Who they are: This 10,000-square-foot wellness-focused food hall from Wynwood Yard founder Della Heiman and business partner Ken Lyon will open in the spring at the Civica Center in the Jackson Health District, its dishes mainly aimed at Jackson patients, employees and visitors.
The cuisine: CHARCOAL, a restaurant concept original launched at Wynwood Yard, will roast chicken on a charcoal-fired Josper rotisserie, while Levant will serve kabobs, shawarma and Hawaiian poke bowls. More highlights: A grab-and-go market called Petit Marché, and a future third-floor hydroponic farm supplying 1,000 pounds of produce to the food hall weekly.
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (tent.)
Time Out Market Miami
1601 Drexel Ave., Miami Beach; Time Out Market Miami on Instagram
Who they are: This 17,500-square-foot indoor market from Time Out Market CEO Didier Souillat, set to open this fall, is going aggressively local by courting a who’s who of recognizable Miami chefs, including Pubbelly founder José Mendín, Macchialina’s Michael Pirolo, Coyo Taco’s Scott Linquist and Kush‘s Matt Kuscher.
The cuisine: The mandate from Souillat is that each meal should cost $20, says Mendin, who will bring a “test kitchen” featuring dumplings, ramen and tripletas, a Puerto Rican sweet bread sandwich packed with chicken, ham and beef. “It’s a place where I can cook without a concept and play with the menu a lot,” Mendin says. Other vendors: A Jugofresh outpost; the all-day bakery Buht-er, from Pubbelly pastry chef Maria Orantes; and a Coyo Taco outpost, featuring tortillas and roasted lamb and goat.
Hours: To be announced
St. Roch Market
140 NE 39th St., Suite 241, Miami; 786-566-6656; Miami.StRochMarket.com
Who they are: A New Orleans export from owners Will Donaldson and Barre Tanguis, this 12-vendor space in Miami’s Design District will serve upscale, Big Easy-inspired meals on china and glassware. Notable Miami chefs are being tapped for the market, set to open this summer.
The cuisine: Miami’s Andrew Zarzosa will open Yuzu, specializing in ramen bowls, roasted pork belly fried rice and espresso-poached eggs, while Fernando Chang will open Itame, offering Japanese nigiri and sashimi. Also on tap: a coffee and pastry shop, a salad vendor and an oyster bar.
Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily (tent.)
8330 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-218-2757 or TheCitadelMiami.com
Who they are: The 60,000-square-foot food hall and workspace from developers Thomas Conway and Nicholas Hamann will take shape in Miami’s Little River this spring, and will offer 22 vendors.
The cuisine: Vendors include Green G, serving cold-pressed juices and Acai bowls, while Coral Gables' Threefold Café will open Smashing Avo's, focusing on the avocado toast craze. Taquiza, meanwhile, will specialize in tacos and street food.
Hours: To be announced
143 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-768-9826 or 1-800-Lucky.com
Who they are: Perhaps South Florida’s cheekiest food hall, this 10,000-square-foot Asian marketplace from Sven Vogtland and Alan Drummond (owners of Wynwood taqueria Coyo Taco) is hidden behind a bodega and a record store called Lucky Records. A karaoke bar and weekly concerts also dwell within.
The cuisine: Where to start? There’s Lotus + Cleaver, specializing in Chinese barbecue and Peking duck, and Hayato Miami, offering traditional ramen from Japanese chef Keiichi Maemura; and Taiyaki, a New York outpost best know for fish-shaped Japanese ice-cream waffles. “To find good Asian restaurants, you’d have to drive an hour to Pembroke Pines or South Miami,” Vogtland says. “So we thought, let’s have one place for banh mi, one place for ramen and one place for duck, all under one roof.”
Hours: Noon-3 a.m. daily
723 N. Lincoln Lane, Miami Beach; 305-779-8943 or TheLincolnEatery.com
Who they are: Topped by a Marshalls department store, this 9,600-square-foot ground-floor market from real-estate firm Terranova will offer fast-casual dishes when it debuts this fall.
The cuisine: Vendors have not yet been announced, but there will be a 5,000-square-foot rooftop terrace for al fresco dining.
Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Treats Food Hall
19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura; 305-935-1110 or AventuraMall.com/Dining
Who they are: Several chain eateries fill this reimagining of Aventura Mall’s food court, occupying a 315,000 square-foot expansion wing on the mall’s third floor.
The cuisine: Noteworthy is a second location for South Beach’s Hank & Harry’s Delicatessen, offering one-pound pastrami sandiwiches, along with Shake Shack, My Ceviche and Figs by Todd English. Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen will offer dishes such as spiced lamb, baked falafels, roasted baba ghanoush and sumac onions.
Hours: Varies, but between 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
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