Food courts have gone from local shopping mall fixture to destinations in their own right, becoming something bigger, becoming food halls.
Mess halls and food courts have undergone a growth spurt, morphing into full-grown food halls. These assemblies of restaurants, food purveyors, and ancillary vendors (think breweries, chocolate shops, and coffee roasters) trend toward the homegrown variety supporting local producers. Consider that in place of a multinational burger concern you’ll find a hometown hamburger joint sourcing beef from area ranchers. Here are four food halls you can belly up to.
Grand Central Market, Los Angeles
Ease your way into the multicultural extravaganza that is the historic Grand Central Market with an Americano from G&B Coffee and a bacon-hugging breakfast sandwich from Eggslut before jumping into your grocery list at Torres Produce, Clark Street Bread, and District Market. Don’t forget to treat yourself to any number of diverse feed stops — it’s never good to shop hungry — including fresh seafood (Prawn), home-style Thai (Sticky Rice), Central Texas barbecue (Horse Thief BBQ), and ice cream (McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream). 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, grandcentralmarket.com
Fareground at One Eleven, Austin, Texas
Food truck-crazed Austinites have embraced this food hall since it opened in 2017. The downtown spot beneath an office tower — but opening to an outdoor plaza — boasts an impressive collection of concepts from some of the city’s favorite restaurateurs. Fine cheeses are available at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop; Ni-Komé serves up ramen bowls and sushi rolls; grab an espresso and a pretzel with house-made beer cheese from the dough punchers at Easy Tiger Bake Shop; and get yourself a handcrafted torta or a taco made from wild game and local produce at Dai Due Taqueria, the high-end counter from avid butcher and hunter Jesse Griffiths, Tamara Mayfield, and chef Gabe Erales. Take it all in at one of the tables in the large dining area, where a Fareground employee will promptly ask if you need a drink. One Eleven Congress Plaza, Austin, Texas, faregroundaustin.com
The Source, Denver
When The Source opened in a renovated foundry in 2013, RiNo was a neglected industrial zone squeezed by rail lines and sliced by the South Platte River. Industry continues to thrive with craft breweries and new restaurants. But it’s The Source that started it all, and it’s there where visitors can see coffee roasted and witness traditional butchery in practice. Moreover, this summer, The Source grew to include a boutique hotel, a second market hall with an art gallery, and two additional restaurants: one from James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Alon Shaya and another a Kansas City-meets-Texas barbecue concept. 3330 Brighton Blvd., Denver, thesourcehotel.com
Melrose Market, Seattle
Up the street from Pike Place Market — where fish can fly — is Seattle’s Melrose Market. The 8-year-old indoor expo calls a series of renovated early 20th-century automotive buildings home. Instead of cars and carburetors, customers encounter the Rain Shadow Meats butcher shop. Get yourself a couple of Pacific Northwest-raised loins and a Washington state-shaped cutting board from Butter Home on which to prepare it. Grab surf to go with the turf at Taylor Shellfish Farms. You’ll need a cocktail from Still Liquor or a glass of red from the Marseille Food and Wine shop after all that. 1531 Melrose Avenue
From the October 2018 issue.
Photography: Jakob N. Layman/Courtesy Grand Central Market, Chase Daniel/Courtesy Resplendent Hospitality, David Hiser/Courtesy The Source, Oly Bernardi/Courtesy The Source.
Subscribe to the forthcoming monthly Taste of the West e-newsletter below.