The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

New food hall offers quick bites near DePaul’s Loop campus


The Loop’s largest lunch destination stands only a six-minute walk from the heart of DePaul’s Loop campus.

Revival Food Hall (125 S. Clark St.) boasts 15 distinctive fast-casual booths of both Chicago’s rising favorites and debuts from acclaimed local chefs. This collective of Chicago’s most coveted restaurants launched a culinary revolution when it opened Aug. 18.

For the more than 250,000 workers within walking distance of the building, and adventurous students as well, the hall provides a lunchtime revival beyond the familiarity of Jimmy John’s, Chipotle and other tried-and-true—and tired—fast food chains.

“Chicago’s food scene has long been home to some of the most creative culinary concepts in the country. With so many eclectic, food-forward options in the neighborhoods, why shouldn’t the city’s most densely populated workforce experience this same type of variety downtown during the workweek?” Bruce Finkelman, managing partner of development company 16” On Center, said.

The 24,000-square-foot venue upgraded the ground floor of The National, a historic, 20-story building that has stood on Clark Street since 1907. Its name makes a reference to the building’s original intentions as a space to house the Commercial National Bank of Chicago. Now, its modern, windowed front hides nothing of the characteristic, at times chaotic, abundance within.

“We’ve got everything from pizza to tacos. If you want to go a little off the beaten path, we have cured meats, we have poke, we have smoked barbeque…it’s kind of an all-inclusive taste of Chicago,” Justin Anderson, Revival Food Hall’s director of operations, told ABC Chicago.

From coffee to cocktails, burgers to bowls (of noodles, seafood or gelato), Revival Food Hall exhibits a surplus of them all. Each offering can be summed up in two words: worth trying.

By noon on weekdays, persistent lines have already formed at three of Revival Food Hall’s most well known tenants. Aloha Poke Co., which instantly gained the attention of Chicagoans since its food stall debut in March, prepares its signature Aloha experience: bowls packed with rice, high-quality raw fish and as many toppings as desired. Smoque BBQ pulls pork, brisket, turkey and sausage out of its onsite smokers every day. Hot spot Antique Taco Chiquito reaches a new clientele after two successful locations in Wicker Park and Bridgeport.

For those coming during what could be considered the lunch rush, expect lines and embrace them. Even with a 10-to-15-minute wait, or 30 minutes or more at one of these venues, fresh, restaurant-quality food comes out fast.

Revival Food Hall is everything a food court is and is not: atmospheric, graceful and ambitious. Especially impressive, Furious Spoon serves up Tokyo-style ramen at downtown Chicago’s first homemade and in-house daily ramen noodle shop.

Other satisfying stalls experience bursts of customers throughout the afternoon and evening. Graze Kitchenette’s two-fold concept of burgers and bowls counts both à la carte burgers and well-topped smoothie bowls among its offerings. Union Squared fronts straightforward, Detroit-style pizza with toppings that change daily. Farmer’s Fridge has hidden healthy gems like avocado toast and vegetable sides, emphasizing a selection of unique and wholesome options.

Customizable ordering is often key, and what makes venues so easy to return to. Brown Bag Seafood Co. proves even high-quality fish has a place in the quick service lunchtime market, and dishes it out in sandwiches, salads, tacos and powerboxes. Danke’s versatile lunch menu presents a sandwiched selection of house-made meats, but shifts during happy hour to a variety of customizable meat and cheese plates, to be paired with a curated list of wine and beer. The Fat Shallot, positioned next to the Adams Street entrance, maintains food truck speed at its first brick-and-mortar location, topping sandwiches with ingredients like basil aioli, Muenster cheese and sautéed spinach.

Plentiful, lightweight seating seems scarce when every chair appears taken. However, with the convenient grab-and-go packaging consistent across venues, some of the traffic comes from those passing through to grab lunch. The eco-friendly to-go containers, boxes and foil that wrap orders invite customers to take their food with them, an advantage to those on shorter lunch breaks. With a walk around the spacious floor and its collection of cocktail tables, bench seating and four-seaters, or the gracefully long communal table backed by window seating overlooking Clark Street, friends find seats easily. A lucky few might find themselves at a restaurant’s front counter seating, the best seats in the house, to experience each unique venue.

Those sitting in front row seats at either neighboring stall Graze Kitchenette and Antique Taco Chiquito face not only energetic, organized kitchens, but also eclectic neon signs. However, the hall’s true lighting feature hangs plentifully from the ceiling: a bounty of bubble-encapsulated bulbs that seem magnetized in place.

Revival Food Hall’s coffee and cocktail space, which includes a multi-roast café and a full bar, encourages visitors to indulge in a brewed-to-order beverage or a variety of alcoholic drinks. Each individual booth also sells a unique variety of bottled and canned drinks at the counter, with some selling their own handcrafted beverages, like Antique Taco Chiquito’s Horchata.

Alongside the bar, a record store and reading corner crafted by Chicago-based indie book publisher Curbside Splendor sells an eye-catching selection of records and books from local artists. The independent press publishes fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry, and its thoughtful selection fits in well with the other thoughtfully curated venues.

Another of Revival Food Hall’s individual endeavors includes a bakery that displays fresh pastries on clean butcher’s block, where sweets, croissants and cookies from acclaimed pastry chef Mindy Segal rest. Next door, Harvest Juicery’s cold-pressed juices and made-to-order smoothies offer cool pick-me-ups. For even cooler dessert, stop by Black Dog Gelato for seemingly never-ending samples of flavors like Strawberry Balsamic and Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel.

“The idea that we had is that we would like it open from morning to night, and the same people who are coming in the morning are coming in the evening as well,” Anderson said, which Revival Food Hall accomplishes by providing a complete rotation of meals, snacks and drinks throughout the day.

While most of the restaurants are here to stay (because why would they ever want to leave), Revival designates one stall for rotating pop-ups, inviting up-and-coming eateries with a space to impress Loop lunchers. As the hall’s first pop-up, The Budlong will serve its menu for three months until another pop-up takes its place. Before it goes, try one of its impressive Nashville hot chicken sandwiches for a coleslaw-topped fried chicken revelation.

Here’s another two-word summary: treat yo’self. A meal here will run $10-$20, plus a tip on top of that, no matter which vibrant venue makes the sale. By transporting local favorites into one concentrated, accessible space, Revival’s animated hall becomes the best all-in-one place to devour downtown. Revival Food Hall is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (bar until 9 p.m.) Monday through Friday.

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