Mar 3, 2023 - News

The Twin Cities' hottest restaurant is a food hall

Illustration of competing restaurant neon signs.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

When Eat Street Crossing debuts on March 4, it will mark the sixth food hall to have opened in the Twin Cities in just over four years.

  • That's nearly 40 individual food and drink vendors, most of which didn't exist before they landed a spot in a food hall.

Why it matters: The food-court like setups aren't just an easy place to grab a bite. Many have become Twin Cities destinations, attracting big crowds and giving local chefs a cheaper opportunity to try new concepts.

What they're saying: "There are a lot of talented chefs that just want to do their craft, but can't afford an entire built-out restaurant," the Market at Malcolm Yards owner Patricia Wall told Axios. "Starting in a food hall lowers the barriers of entry."

How it works: Every hall is different, but spots like Malcolm Yards and North Loop Galley don't charge a rental fee. Instead, vendors pay a percentage of sales to the operators.

  • Leases are typically 1-2 years — short enough to keep things fresh, but long enough to avoid frequent turnover.
  • In some cases, operators put in their own stands. Five of the six concepts at Eat Street Crossing were created by the teams that started the food hall.

Between the lines: Despite increasing competition, several owners told Axios that rival halls don't take away business because most are in different areas of town.

  • Graze and North Loop Galley are less than half a mile apart, but Galley Group CEO Chad Ellingboe ​said Graze doesn't affect business because the two have different options and environments.

What we're watching: The Dayton's Project food hall curated by celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern was supposed to open three years ago. A spokesperson told Axios it's still in development, but didn't have a timeline.

Read more: Seven Twin Cities food halls to check out in 2023

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