The 4 Food Hall Typologies

Two weeks back I conducted a Food Hall Demographic Analysis where I analysed the locations of 33 popular food halls in the United Sates.  I came away with an understanding that certain food halls prefer to locate in certain areas of a city.  The composition of these food halls are also different depending on their location.  After further research, I have aggregated food halls into four distinct typologies:

1) The Upscale Downtown Food Hall:  Examples: Chelsea Market, LatinCity, UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, Todd English Food Hall, The Plaza Food Hall, Revival Food Hall, Chicago French Market, Eastern Market.  The Upscale Downtown Food Hall is glitzy and modern.  It has large financial backing and is typically located in an architecturally historic building that is well-known with locals.  Food vendors are a mixture of popular upstarts and stalls run by famous chefs.  These food halls are located in major U.S. cities such as New York City, Chicago, and Washington D.C.  The surrounding residential area is dense with higher-than-average income profiles  The Upscale Downtown Food Hall markets itself to high-income earning local residents, local employees for lunch and after work drinks, and a wide range of tourists.


Todd English Food Hall, New York City – Image credited to The Plaza NY

2) The Casual Downtown Food Hall: Examples: Pine Street Market, 4th Street Market, Ottenheimer Market Hall, Melrose Market, Grand Central Market, Market House @ Nashville Farmers Market.  The Casual Downtown Food Hall is similar to the Upscale Downtown Food Hall but more understated.  It is located in revitalized and renovated older buildings in the downtown core.  Financial backers are typically local investors.  These food halls typically are smaller in size with 8 to 20 vendors.  Food vendors are primarily upstarts or new concepts by popular local chefs and restaurants.  Many food vendors are those who have upgraded to their first bricks and mortar location, using the space as a business incubator. The surrounding residential area has below-average income profiles due to the socio-economic status of many local residents in a downtown setting.  The Casual Downtown Food Hall markets itself to local residents, local employees for lunch and after work drinks, and foodie tourism.


Grand Central Market, Los Angeles – Image credited to Bon Appetite

3) The Industrial Edge Food Hall: Examples: Krog Street Market, Union Market DC, Anaheim Packing House, Mercado La Paloma, Industry City Food Hall.  The Industrial Edge Food Hall is located on the periphery of downtown, where land uses are current or former industrial sites.  The neighborhood is “up-and-coming”, going through revitalization and gentrification with new business ventures, start-ups, and multi-family residential.  These food halls are typically located in repurposed industrial warehouses or manufacturing buildings.  The location allows rents to be cheaper than Downtown Food Halls, so food vendors are able to get in at the ground floor before being priced out as the area grows.  The surrounding residential area has below-average income profiles, but due to gentrification, this is continually changing as the area redevelops.  The Industrial Edge Food Hall can be seen as a catalyst for urban renewal in these areas.  It markets itself less to tourists than the Downtown Food Halls, and more to the local residential population and local employees.


Union Market DC – Imaged credited to

4) The Suburban Food Hall: Examples: Liberty Public Market, Central Food Hall @ Ponce City Market, Midtown Global Market, The Market Hall (Addison), Portland Mercado, Avanti Food & Beverage, East End Market.  The Suburban Food Hall is a trendy community hub, employing many characteristics of the other Food Hall typologies, but catering to suburban populations of major cities such as Dallas, Minneapolis, Portland, and Orlando.  It can be located in either a stand-alone building or a mixed-use development that incorporates residential, office, and education.  These food halls are located along major arterial roadways that have high visibility and traffic counts.  Due to their suburban nature, they require high parking ratios as the majority of customers will arrive by car.  Food vendors are a mixture of upstarts or new concepts by popular local chefs and restaurants.  The food vendors are supplemented by retail offerings and public markets.  The surrounding residential area is fairly low density in comparison to other Food Halls, but they are well established neighborhoods with many rooftops.  The Suburban Food Hall markets itself to local residents and a daytime workforce.



Portland Mercado, Portland – Imaged credited to Travel Oregon

I will be aggregating this Food Hall study into a full article that will be published in the next few weeks.

Have a good Labour Day long weekend!    

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