You may already have experienced the new style of food courts, but didn’t recognize it at the first glance. That’s because it’s masked in unique decor, delectable dishes, and visual interest like never before. Gone are the days of the stiff, white trays and servers in hair nets—a new day has dawned in the cafeteria and food court world, and it’s known as a food hall.These large, casual spaces are popping up everywhere from The Workshop in Charleston, to Latinicity in Chicago, and even right here in Grand Rapids with our mini-version at the Downtown Market. The concept is for the space to function with the practicality of a cafeteria, but with the appeal of a more upscale restaurant. From almost every angle you can experience something new, from entirely organic, to cheese from around the world, to homestyle BBQ, these halls are the perfect example of being entirely unique, but yet harmonious at the same time.
Why We Love It
Food halls encompass a locally-focused and boutique-style feeling that serves as the perfect urban backdrop for your next Instagram photo. Typically, they feature numerous food vendors who each bring a unique flavor and style to each of their spaces, while remaining cohesive with the overall design and aesthetics. This restaurant design concept elevates the dining experience from merely “grabbing something for lunch” into a creative, and in many cases, cultural experience.
Why Everyone Else Loves It, Too
The halls provide a variety of cuisine aimed to satisfy a group of diverse tastes and interests. What used to be a solo lunch-run is transforming into a group field trip for coworkers who can all find something they want. Additionally, hopeful restaurant owners now have a unique opportunity to accomplish their dream without the tremendous start-up costs. They gain maximum exposure for minimal upfront cost and effort.
Industry experts are predicting this dining trend also has some unprecedented growth ahead. Currently, there are roughly 40 of these halls available across the country, but we may see that number grow to as many as 200 within the next three years.
The Downtown Market, Grand Rapids
Many of our products have been handcrafted to meet the unique restaurant design and durability demands of today’s modern food halls. Indoor seating options include our Reece, Harper, and Brooke as we offer extensive options in a multitude of colors. For hall tables, Dylan and Brady offer the perfect communal experience for those group field trips. And for halls offering outdoor seating areas, we recommend our Opla line of chairs and tables.
Featured Image: The Latin Kitchen