The food hall concept — Marketplace called it “the ritzier, foodier cousin of the suburban mall food court” — isn’t anything new. But it is an idea that’s on the rise in a big way, all across the U.S.
Restaurant Hospitality magazine pointed to its trend-to-watch growth in 2016, and Thrillist pointed out in 2017 that nearly a dozen U.S. cities — from Austin to Baltimore to Miami to Huntington Beach — had food hall concepts up and running or in the works.
This spring, real-estate publication Bisnow pointed out how “food halls have become the hottest trend in retail, and a new report projects the market will nearly triple in size by 2020.”
Obviously Nashville, a growing food destination, was gonna get in on this.
In a sense, we’ve had a Nashville food hall for a while — the Market House hub in Germantown’s Nashville Farmers Market is a food hall in all but name, with a mix of restaurants working in their own kitchens and sharing central seating.
But this year and next, we’re due to see a lot more in that area, with at least three food halls in the works all around the city. Keeping your eye on this Nashville food development? Here’s what we’re eagerly awaiting:
Likely the first Nashville food hall we’ll be able to visit, the L&L Marketplace — initially expected to be dubbed the Factory Marketplace — is being built in the former L&L Restaurant Supply building on Charlotte Avenue at 39th Avenue.
The original structure was built in 1929, and the owners are planning to keep the factory feel while developing it into a 55,000-square-foot food court/marketplace space, with anything from bakeries and coffee shops to distilleries expected to move in.
As of their last update in April, construction was humming along, the industrial L&L shell being recast as a bright and cool business hub. The L&L Marketplace website says it should be finished up by this month, but we’re still waiting on announcements about tenants and openings.
Long in the works, and, last we saw, hopefully open by this fall: Hunters Station, a food-court hub near Five Points in East Nashville, expected to have at least a half-dozen eateries operating inside, along with outdoor amenities that include a dog walk, bocce court, covered patios and more.
This particularly project, spread over several buildings on Main Street around N. 10th Street, is the work of Fresh Hospitality, a Nashville-based restaurant group with brands parked all across the city, including Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint (from Belmont to Mt. Juliet) and GReKo Greek Street Food nearby in East Nashville.
A bunch of Fresh Hospitality brands have been rumored for Hunters Station spots (Hugh Baby’s and the Grilled Cheeserie were among the ones namedropped in The Tennessean). One we know for sure, though, is Tacos Aurora, a California-style taco truck that’s planning to open its first brick-and-mortar location there, according to The East Nashvillian.
Fifth + Broadway
The reimagination of the former Convention Center location downtown is under way (rendering pictured up top), and once the whole $430 million project — dubbed Fifth + Broadway — is complete, we should see almost 400 residential units, a 26-story office tower and a 100,000-square-foot food hall and entertainment venue, among other draws.
The food hall is expected to anchor the massive project, with 25 different eatery options joining the mix, according to WKRN.
We shouldn’t expect to see this whole development complete until the spring of 2020, but it sure looks like something to look forward to.
Are you intrigued by the food-hall growth in Nashville? Prefer your dining to be more individually focused?
If you’re among the country’s many food-hall devotees, and want to make sure you’re living in close proximity to one of Nashville’s, we’d love to help. Reach ACRE here, tell us about the Nashville neighborhood you’re hoping to buy a home in, and we’ll get started.