Great Food Halls from Coast to Coast

These prepared-food meccas across the nation serve up some of the best bites the local food scenes have to offer.

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One Space, Many Concepts

Food halls aren’t just for Europeans anymore. These massive, multiconcept spaces are popping up at rapid speed across the country. From prepared-food meccas to launching pads for chefs' new concepts, food halls are a must-visit to experience the local food scene. Watch butchers break down a cut of meat, sniff your way through a world of spices and munch on globally inspired cuisine. Here are 17 new and historic spots worth exploring to sample the best bites each city has to offer.

 

Photo by Paul Gorman for West Side Market, Cleveland

Atlanta: Ponce City Market

A revival of the old Sears Roebuck building, this new, multifaceted market contains a vibrant central food hall anchored by some of the South’s best chefs, including James Beard Award winner Sean Brock’s Mexican street-food restaurant, Minero. Live music and pop-up markets amp up the fun to be had while you're nibbling on crab beignets or sipping cold-pressed juice. More vendors — of quick-service food, cocktails and more — are being added to make this a must-visit Southern spot.

Chicago: Latinicity

Chicago’s newest food hall brings a taste of Latin America to the Midwest via acclaimed chef Richard Sandoval. The bright, colorful and festive space has 12 food stations representing various parts of Latin America, such as a Mexican taqueria and a Peruvian chaufa station, and serving ensaladas, ceviche and much more. In addition to the quick-service stands there is a sit-down tapas restaurant, Pata Negra, courtesy of Iron Chef Jose Garces. The marketplace also brings a myriad of food items and sundries sourced directly from Latin America that the team has carefully curated in their travels to the area.

Photo by Marcin Cymmer

Cleveland: West Side Market

Founded in 1912, the West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest public market and hosts more than 100 vendors, many of whose businesses have been run by the same family for generations. Take the opportunity to stop and smell the flowers and look around at this building, which is more than a century old and was designed by architects Hubbell & Benes (who also designed the Cleveland Museum of Art); it includes 44-foot vaulted tile ceilings and a soaring clock tower. Strike up a conversation here with the vendors, who may be filleting a fish, serving up bratwursts, stuffing olives or frying falafel — their stories are what make the market.

More About: West Side Market

Denver: Avanti Food & Beverage

Denver recently jumped into the food hall game with a converted-warehouse building concept that co-founder Patrick O’Neill refers to as a “restaurant incubator.” “We really want chefs to come in, test out a new concept and after a year or two go on to open their own brick-and-mortar spot,” says O’Neill. The current seven concepts — which are housed in old shipping containers — include beautifully plated Mediterranean tapas with Mexican flair at BIXO and Venezuelan arepas from Quiero Arepas, a spinoff of the well-known food truck with delicious offerings. As for brews, check out the state’s largest selection of Dogfish Head craft beer at either of the two bars — one on the inside and one on a rooftop deck with killer views of the city.

Photo by Travis Rummel, Felt Soul Media

More About: Avanti Food & Beverage

Los Angeles: Grand Central Market

This historic market in downtown Los Angeles brings together the best of old and new city flavors. Open since 1917, the food hall has gone through a recent revival, keeping some of the classics like the California-style Chinese food at China Café and the Salvadoran pupusas at Sarita’s but adding in ventures from LA’s most-popular chefs, such as Ilan Hall’s all-vegan ramen shop, Ramen Hood, and the popular food-truck concept Egg Slut. These options, along with a craft brewery, a produce market, artisan ice cream shop and sustainable-meat butcher, make it a must-visit for Angelenos and tourists alike.

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Los Angeles: Stir Market

Taking the best of the behemoth food halls and scaling it to fit into a neighborhood, Stir aims to be a comfortable place to gather and indulge in everything from a morning espresso to a hearty porchetta plate. Styled after a European market with a California twist, there are plenty of prepared-food options alongside a small market with locally produced milk, eggs and cheese, and treats from Los Angeles-based artisans, such as funky ice cream sandwiches from Coolhaus.

Napa: Oxbow Public Market

Wine may draw you to Napa, but the Oxbow Public Market is a worthy stop on the trip. It’s easy to find goods for the perfect wine country picnic: fresh-baked breads from Model Bakery, oils and vinegars from The Olive Press, charcuterie from Fatted Calf, and cheese from Oxbow Cheese and Wine Merchant. But it’s also worth sticking around for lunch or dinner on the outside deck that overlooks the Napa River and enjoying garlic citrus prawn tacos, or a hearty burger from an outpost of iconic Napa burger stand Gott’s Roadside.

New Orleans: St. Roch Market

This historic market has been a part of the New Orleans story since 1875. After sustaining major damage from Hurricane Katrina, the space received a major renovation with the goal of restoring some of the original features and looks. Reopened in 2015, St. Roch is now a food hall dedicated to creating opportunities for new food entrepreneurs. The market contains 13 concepts, balancing mainstays and pop-up vendors that rotate every six months as owners open their own brick-and-mortar locations. You’ll find an array of concepts, from free-range rotisserie chicken (at Good Bird) to cold-pressed juice (at the popular Juice NOLA). Feast away on Wednesday nights, when the vendors donate a portion of their proceeds to philanthropic causes across the city.

More About: St. Roch Market

New York City: Gotham West Market

This Hell’s Kitchen hip food hall may not be the biggest in NYC, but its carefully curated offerings make it a must-visit for a fun night (or day) out with a group. Ivan Orkin, the ramen expert, serves up slurpable noodle bowls at his open-till-midnight slurp shop, while El Colmado serves up Spanish fare alongside wine and sherry from Spain. The market is welcoming to cyclists, as its only non-food option is bike shop NYC Velo and the patio is touted as bicycle-friendly.

More About: Gotham West Market

Orlando, Fla.: East End Market

Orlando may be known best for its theme parks, but it’s also home to one of Central Florida’s most-important food hubs, East End Market. Not only can visitors find fresh pasta, local cheese and bread still warm from the oven, but they can also take on-site classes in topics like gardening or chocolate making. Favorite vendors include Kappo, a traditional Japanese spot using local Florida ingredients, and Houndstooth Sauce Company, best known for their white and red barbecue sauces that are slathered on sandwiches or available for retail purchase. The two-story space has also become a launch pad for burgeoning food entrepreneurs in Central Florida: There’s an on-site incubator kitchen that serves as a space for growing food businesses to get an affordable start whether they are interested in catering, cooking or canning.

 

Photo by Rob Bartlett

More About: East End Market

Philadelphia: Reading Terminal

A true part of the fabric of Philadelphia, this historic market houses more than 75 vendors serving everything from the classic Philly cheesesteak to made-to-order juice. The wafting smells of cave-aged cheeses, cumin, corned beef, doughnuts and much more fill the air, making the market a treat for all the senses. You won’t find a national chain or franchise here; the market itself is proudly all Pennsylvanian. Stalls of interesting cookbooks, ornate French linens and vibrant blooms provide perfect mementos of your visit and conversation starters for your next dinner party.

Portland, Ore.: Pine Street Market

Portland’s first food hall, Pine Street Market contains nine of the city’s most-beloved restaurant concepts, each with a twist. The cult-beloved funky ice cream shop Salt & Straw, for example, used the market to introduce its Wiz Bang Bar, a foray into soft serve with off-the-wall flavors like smoked ham soft serve in a truffle-white chocolate-dipped cone.  OP Wurst, from the team behind Olympia Provisions, focuses on funky footlongs creatively topped with things like pickled egg salad and poutine. You’ll also find Israeli street food, ramen, fresh-baked bread and award-winning coffee.

More About: Pine Street Market

San Diego: Liberty Public Market

Opened in spring of 2016, this vast indoor food fall hosts more than 30 vendors selling the best of Southern California, including fresh-cut flowers, cold-pressed juices, micro-batch coffee, Argentinian-style empanadas and much more. The on-site sit-down restaurant, Mess Hall — named for the space’s past use as a naval training center mess hall — almost exclusively uses ingredients found in the market. A farmers market, an on-site butcher, a fishmonger and an assortment of food trucks round out San Diego’s newest food hub.

More About: Liberty Public Market

San Francisco: Ferry Building

Built in 1898 for travel via ferry, this San Francisco mainstay now houses some of the best cuisine the Bay City has to offer on the inside, and one of the best farmers markets around at its doorstep. Grab a Blue Bottle coffee and sample your way through the many market stalls, which include cheese haven Cow Girl Creamery and unique ice cream connoisseur Humphry Slocombe. Or perhaps forage your way through the mushroom selection at Far West Fungi or grab a few oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co. Nationally acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door anchors the market and is a perfect spot to spend a few hours winding down the evening.

Photo by Rien van Rijthoven

More About: Ferry Building Marketplace

Seattle: Pike Place Market

Mention this famous Seattle market to anyone and they’ll likely direct you to the fish market in the front, where the fishmongers put on quite a show throwing around fish like they are footballs! But there is so much more to the market: vibrant cherries and other Washington produce, devourable dim sum and even whole smoked pig’s head. In 2017 the market will see a new addition called the Market Front that will include roof-terrace stalls of crafts and produce, Old Stove Brewery and Honest Biscuits (which will make their beer and biscuits on-site) and a myriad of other tasty treats.

Washington D.C.: Union Market

The history of D.C.’s Union Market is storied, with iterations of the concept dating back to the late 1800s. Today it’s become a vibrant spot for local artisan food purveyors to serve up their greatest creations and for marketgoers to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Buffalo & Bergen, from renowned D.C. mixologist Gina Chersevani, takes on the classic New York soda shop with cocktails and distinctive syrups (like grapefruit rosemary and peach sassafras); Honeycomb grocer offers up Asian goodies from kimchi to kombucha; and Rappahannock Oyster Co. shucks the freshest Virginia oysters in town. In addition to the 40 permanent vendors, the market also hosts a handful of unique pop-ups and cool events like Test Kitchen, a behind-the-scenes look at the market.

More About: Union Market

Various Locations Nationwide: Eataly

This Italian mega-food hall has locations around the world (with more to come), but each one has its own unique vibe. With restaurants such as an osteria and a microbrewery, coffee shops, event spaces and a cooking school, you’d easily be able to spend a day eating your way through the massive 50,000-plus-square-foot spaces. But you’d be remiss to bypass the incredible selection of freshly pinched pastas, freshly sliced salumi and hand-pulled mozzarella available to bring back to your own kitchen. 

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