We're Turning Into a Food Hall Nation
As culinary commerce booms, food halls are popping up like gourmet mushrooms from coast to coast. More selectively curated than open-air farmers' markets, these indoor marketplaces house everything from local butchers to casual eateries. Unlike the Italy-centric Eataly archetype, most new halls aren't bound by a theme. Melrose Market in Seattle and St. Roch Market in New Orleans offer a diverse array of vendors—young-gun chefs as well as established faces in the food community. St. Roch co-owner Will Donaldson says his market is "about 13 individuals, all with something to say." The hall allows them a space to say it while establishing a more intimate bond with customers. Thus, the primary focus of these markets is on sharing flavors and moments. "It is a place for people to come in and spend hours as they meet friends, push tables together, and engage in sampling food," Donaldson says. "This is a shared experience."