Don’t Read This If You’re Hungry: The 10 Best Food Halls in America
Foodies take note: Some of the best bites in the USA aren't in fancy restaurants or upscale cafes, but in trendy food halls across the country, especially these.
Ponce City Market, Atlanta
Located in the historic Sears Roebuck and Company building (circa 1926), Atlanta’s Ponce City Market was named one of Vogue’s top new food markets in 2016, as much for its cool brick interior as for its expansive offerings of unique food vendors. With nearly 30 eateries in a sprawling industrial chic space with plenty of seating, both indoors and out, it’s easy to see why locals and visitors alike come here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some top tastes include gourmet Popsicles at King of Pops (some with a boozy kick), Pakistani street food at Botiwalla, biltong (South African jerky) and beer at Biltong Bar (which may actually be good for you), and a gourmet version of a local favorite, fried chicken biscuits, at Hop’s Chicken. Don’t miss the open-air rooftop of Ponce City Market where grown-up summer slushies and gourmet fair food accompany boardwalk-inspired games and great views.
Chelsea Market, New York City
A former Nabisco Oreo factory (now that’s a tasty history) converted into a gourmet playground, Chelsea Market was a pioneer of the food hall trend, opening its doors in New York’s up-and-coming Meat Market neighborhood two decades ago. Today, the square city block of sit-down-restaurants, gourmet grocery stops, quick bite stands, and specialty shops, is at the center of one of the hippest neighborhoods in Manhattan, and it’s a must stop on any foodie tour of New York. (Insider tip: Food Network studios are located upstairs, so you may see celebrity chefs grabbing a bite to eat or stocking their shopping baskets). There are dozens of options to explore at Chelsea Market, but the steamed crustaceans at The Lobster Place, Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches at Num Pang, and the crusty loaves at Amy’s Bread are all crowd pleasers.
Union Market, Washington, DC
The space that Union Market calls home has a long history as a food market, reaching back to 1931 when it housed 700 stalls and food vendors hawking basics such as meat, fish, dairy, and produce. Those grocers wouldn’t recognize the slick open space today, although you’ll still find food and drink on offer from more than three dozen boutique shops. Highlights include fusion favorite Korean tacos at Takorean, decadent cheesesteak filled empanadas at DC Empanadas, and gourmet cheeses to take away at Righteous Cheese.
Liberty Public Market, San Diego
San Diego’s first daily food hall, Liberty Public Market, brings together a mix of farmers market vendors, food truck operators, and homemade culinary treats that represent the city’s growing gastro-centric scene. Drool over freshly baked cookies at Crafted Baked Goods, get up-close-and-personal with freshly caught snappers at FishBone Kitchen, and see first-hand how the European pastas are made fresh daily at Pasta Design. Adults can also grab a seat at Grape Smuggler for wine tasting flights from the nearly 5,000 bottle cellar.
St. Roch Market, New Orleans
For big eats in the big easy, the Southern food hall St. Roch Market is a must-taste, with a diverse lineup of food and beverage options. New Orleans is a great trip for foodies, and this sprawling new complex makes it even easier to sample some of what make native New Orleanians salivate. A dozen stalls in a soaring modern white columned space that’s an update of an 1875 landmark building. Expect to find new spins on local favorites at St. Roch Market, including BBQ shrimp po’boys (a true amalgam of New Orleans-style cooking) at Elysian Seafood or hot Muffuletta sliders at Fete au Fete, or a perfectly-crafted bourbon Old Fashioned (with thyme bitters that is) at The Mayhaw.
Locale Market, St. Petersburg, Florida
One of the top food spots in South Florida is Locale Market, the joint creation of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina and chef and author Don Pintabona. Modeled after the great markets of Europe, the 20,000 square foot, two-story venue provides a combination gourmet dining and grocery experience, highlighting ingredients from Mina and Pintabona’s favorite farmers and artisanal producers. Amid the rows of gourmet and organic groceries, sits 11 separate open-air kitchens and cook stations including a full service deli, butcher, fish, and seafood section, and produce section. Upstairs are a wine bar and bakery, as well as FarmTable Kitchen.
The Source, Denver
Another historic brick warehouse (this one dating to 1880s) transformed into a high-end food market, The Source combines sit down bars and takeaway food in a hip spot in downtown Denver. The space includes more than a dozen purveyors of local goods. Look for Mexican street food at Comida, French Baguettes at Babettes Artisan Breads, and, a must in this beer-obsessed city, funky brews at Crooked Staff bar.
Revival Food Hall, Chicago
This massive 24,00 square foot space in a century-old building boasts only locally produced and owned Chicago foods at 15 different stalls right in the heart of the Windy City’s bustling Loop neighborhood. When you come to Revival Food Hall, you’ll want to make a beeline to The Fat Shallot to see if the rotating menu of fresh sandwiches includes the addictive truffle BLT or the oozing grilled Muenster cheese on sourdough. The Farmer’s Fridge utilizes fresh produce from a farmer’s market across the street from Revival to craft crispy kale and shaved vegetable salad. And repeat award-winner Black Dog Gelato offers up an array of never-seen-before frozen flavors Nutella Pretzel, Sesame Fig Chocolate Chip, and Goat Cheese Caramel Cashew (yes, you read that right–it’s a bestseller!).
Pine Street Market, Portland
Spread across the first floor of the 19th century United Carriage and Baggage Transfer building, the Pine Street Market offers myriad seating options for tasters to sit and enjoy local dining options ranging from burgers at Bless Your Heart, to cups of Joe at cult coffee favorite Barista served at Brass Bar to ice cream crafted by Portland’s perennially popular Salt & Straw served a Wiz Bang Bar. Are you a fan of vintage-style burgers? Check out these retro burger bars from around the country.
West Side Market, Cleveland
A cornucopia of Midwestern favorites vie for hungry visitors stomachs at this award-winning market located in a (you guessed it) 100 year old building. West Side Market is truly one-of-a-kind with more than 100 vendors inside and outside offering everything from fresh produce, to Midwestern classics such as bratwurst (Franks has been selling the sausage here since 1970), to international cuisine such as authentic Southeast Asian flavors at Kim’s Cambodian Cuisine. Consider taking a guided tour, or downloading the online map, to help navigate the maze of delicious stalls.