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Food hall frenzy: Designer, fast and casual restaurants in one place

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Going to the mall as a child was always a treat.  Walking into the stores, window shopping, maybe even being able to buy something were always things to look forward to. Then, when you got hungry, there was the mall food court, filled with Auntie Anne’s, Sbarro, Dairy Queen, enjoyed at simple tables on tile floors.

Now a new trend has replaced the mall food court– the food hall.  They are different with designer restaurants. But like the mall food court, they have lots of options.

“There’s a lot more food,” said DePaul sophomore Peter Wong at the Revival Food Hall.  “I see Furious Spoon and Mindy’s Chocolate that is definitely better than [a] food mall.”

“I come during the school year about once a week, just while I am waiting for my train,” said DePaul philosophy PhD candidate Evan Edwards.  “It is a great venue not only for trying out different foods but also having a communal space.”

Not everyone thinks Revival is perfect.  “I like the options for food, but a little more diverse options would be nice,” said DePaul sophomore Fern Visattanasak. But “I like it because it is quite modern here, very dynamic.”

“I am vegan, so the only place here that has an option for me is Furious Spoon,” said Edwards.  “I had some ramen earlier today (…) it is great, I get it every time I come.”

In their April 2018 annual report on food halls, consulting firm Cushman Wakefield and their food hall expert Garrick Brown see a bright future for food halls.

“Food halls are popping up around the United States at a breakneck pace” the report says.  “By 2020 the marketplace will have tripled in size in the span of just five years.”  They also provide a different experience than mall food courts or individual restaurants. “The modern food hall is about the celebration of food itself. It is not an amenity for its consumers, but the primary reason for their visit,” according to the report.

Chicago has seen an increasing number of food halls open since The Chicago French Market opened in 2009 and Eataly opened in 2010.  Latinicity opened in late 2015, 3 Greens Market and Revival Food Hall opened in 2016.  Forum 55 opened in 2017.  “Food halls offer experience and food halls are eCommerce-proof,” said the Cushman Wakefield report. “The food hall has emerged as the ultimate amenity for mixed-use, office, and multifamily projects.”

Food halls are different than a food court like the one in the mall or the one in the DePaul Student Center.  These have well reviewed fast casual restaurants.  Some, like Eataly and Latinicity have a single ethnic theme.  Others are a hodgepodge of different cuisines and options.


9 Responses to “Food hall frenzy: Designer, fast and casual restaurants in one place”

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Food hall frenzy: Designer, fast and casual restaurants in one place