The latest development in New York City dining is here, and it's not fancy, snobby, or even expensive. They're called Food Halls, and seven of them have opened in the past five years. Names like the Gotham West Market and Time Square's City Kitchen are becoming more familiar to locals and tourists alike, as these food court-style eateries present a convenient and cost-effective alternative to restaurants.
Food halls offer a wide variety of foods under one roof. Comprised of anywhere from four to over a dozen vendors in a space that can range from 9,000 to 50,000 square feet. Because they offer tons of choice and massive convenience, they're gaining more and more popularity with busy, hardworking New Yorkers.
Don't go to a food hall looking for a Sbarro's – you're far more likely to find gourmet fare and offshoots of well-known restaurants by celebrity chefs. TV star Anthony Bourdain is slated to open a food hall called Bourdain Market on Pier 57; meanwhile, Shake Shack's Danny Meyer is looking to open a 40,000-square-foot food hall at Hudson Yards.
What do you think of this dining innovation? I think it's amazing for restaurant owners and foodies alike. The harshness of the current economic climate is driving more and more restaurants out of business; but with the advent of food halls, restauranteurs have an opportunity to expand in a unique, exciting way. Because of the convenience aspect and the lower prices, fine dining can trickle down to a totally new fan base. For the true food lovers like me (and you!), this new wealth of affordable, diverse options can only be a good thing. :)