The food hall is having a(nother) moment, and it could be a silver lining for many affected by last year’s shutdowns … both the eaters and the chefs. “Food halls used to play second-best to real restaurants. Now they offer an unlikely refuge to a battered restaurant industry,” Karen Stabiner writes in an article on The Counter. “A food hall’s allure is simple, at a moment when traditional restaurants are being whiplashed by closings, reduced-occupancy re-openings, second-wave closings and unyielding landlords: A stall costs less to open than a restaurant, and hungry landlords are offering a menu of services that reduce the risk even further,” Karen writes. And as hungry travelers and locals anxiously await a post-pandemic America, the food hall seems like the perfect place to reconnect with long-forgotten friends, devour some affordable dishes from myriad local eateries, and explore some adjoining art and retail spaces while you’re at it.

We’ve written previously about Charlotte’s Optimist Hall, New Orleans’ Pythian Market, Birmingham’s The Pizitz, Atlanta’s Lee & White and Ponce City Market, and Nashville’s L&L Market, to name a few. Now, we invite you to discover three fresh food halls across the South to add to your must-visit list, plus a few more that will open later this year.

The South’s Newest Food Halls

The Works + Chattahoochee Food Works | Atlanta, GA

Atlanta’s historic industrial Upper Westside is now home to The Works, an 80-acre adaptive mixed-use complex with retail and dining, entertainment, and imaginative experiences. By the numbers, the multi-phased plan comprises 350,000 square feet of retail and entertainment, 500,000 square feet of office space, 500 residences, 200 hotel rooms, and 13 acres of green space. While The Works features its own full-fledged dine-and-drink spots like Dr. Scofflaw’s, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, and The Waffle Experience, the real food destination will be Chattahoochee Food Works, set to start opening stalls next month.

Located in the Makers Building at The Works, this expansive food hall will feature 31 — yes, 31 — food stalls and an extensive outdoor patio with a collective of global culinary vendors. Aside from a how-can-you-possibly-pick? array of food options, visitors will also find chef-driven demonstrations, intimate events, a test kitchen, and artisanal market shops. Two heavy-hitters bring Chattahoochee Food Works to life: James Beard Award-winning chef and “Bizarre Foods” host Andrew Zimmern and Robert Montwaid, the inventor of luxe NYC food hall, Gansevoort Market. The duo aims to increase “opportunities for up-and-comers, immigrants, women, and people of color to grow and experiment with their food-driven businesses in Atlanta,” according to Eater Atlanta.

Scoffaw's, a new Southern food hall

Nothing beats (socially distanced) sunset nights with friends along The Spur, the pedestrian strip of shops, art and outdoor games at The Works. Grab a famous beer from Dr. Scofflaw’s and unwind. Image: Facebook

Chattahoochee Food Works

Atlanta is in for an absolute treat when the complex is soon fully open and visitors can taste flavors from all over the world and from many deserving vendors who are finally able to have a space of their own. Image: Submitted

Chattahoochee Food Works Bar, a new Southern food hall

We got a first look at the new Robert Montwaid-designed bar concept coming to Chattahoochee Food Works. Image: Via Failla PR

A slew of new tenants like Pomodoro Bella, Baker Dude, Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream, Baked Kitchen South African Street Food, TydeTate Kitchen, Graffiti Breakfast, Sakura Ramen Bar, Taqueria La Luz, and Bánh Mì Station will open within the next few weeks. Robert Montwaid will lend his decades of cocktail and club experience to Chattahoochee Food Works in the form of an industrial-glam, center-style, indoor-outdoor bar and comfy lounge. Ample public seating, a retractable glass wall, and eye-catching chandeliers are highlights of the space; delectable raw bar offerings, a healthy champagne list, and charcuterie are highlights of the menu. Find out more at theworksatl.com and chattahoocheefoodworks.com.

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Camp North End | Charlotte, NC

“Charlotte’s Got a Lot,” the city’s old tourism mantra, has actually never rung truer. As one of the largest adaptive reuse projects currently underway in the U.S., the city’s Camp North End is transforming a historic 75-acre site (where people once manufactured Model T cars and assembled U.S. Army missiles) into a catalytic hub of creativity and ideas. We recently visited and were completely blown away. Every turn brings a new eye-popping mural, clusters of Gen Z kids filming TikTok dances, and bearded millennials weaving by on skateboards. 2020 brought the grand opening of the Gama Goat Building, an open-air cluster of food stalls, and the site’s main retail thoroughfare, Keswick Avenue, which is now 100% leased to four new food stalls including La Caseta, Bleu Barn Bistro, SARU by Bow Ramen, and Plant Joy.

Popular charcuterie board company Babe & Butcher is establishing its first-ever physical store with an interactive in-store experience to build your own charcuterie boards and boxes to take around your Camp North End explorations. In addition to the beloved Black-owned restaurant Leah & Louise, which was ranked #2 in the 2020 “Best New Restaurants in America” list by Esquire, other co-tenants in this section of the space include Free Range Brewing, art nonprofit Goodyear Arts, and super-cool screen printing company MacFly Fresh. Find out more at camp.nc.

Camp North End

With over 300,000 square feet of space already redeveloped for work, art, dining, hospitality, entertainment, recreation and community building, plus another 1.5 million square feet on the way, Camp North End is indisputably the coolest — and arguably the most important — development in Charlotte right now. Image: Facebook

Camp North End - Keswick Avenue, a new Southern food hall

The open-air dining area and food stalls line a pedestrian walkway at Keswick Avenue flanked with airstream bars and shops, communal fire pits, corn hole boards, and giant art installations. Image: Facebook

RELATED: 3 North Carolina Resorts To (Re)Discover

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Harvest Hall | Grapevine, TX

A little further southwest, in North Dallas, Harvest Hall is a European-style food hall with so much more than food. With its unbeatable vibe, large central bar, busy live music calendar, and indoor-outdoor seating for 500 people, this food hall’s résumé is topped only by its aesthetic splendor. Soaring ceilings with exposed trusses and large panoramic windows that overlook the train station transport guests to America’s grand 19th-century rail stations.

The food. The vibe. The community spirit. Everything is so on point at Harvest Hall, we are considering extending our next layover at DFW to visit. Located 10 minutes from DFW International Airport on the new TEXRail line, you can hop on the train from many stations around the Fort Worth area or stay overnight to get the full day-to-night experience. Located inside Grapevine’s new 120-room boutique hotel, Hotel Vin, Harvest Hall offers seven foodie concepts ready to curb any craving — Chick & Biscuit, Spuntino, Easy Slider, Arepa TX, ZaTaR, Monkey King Noodle Co. and Main Line Coffee Bar. Locals, tourists and foodies alike are adding this North Dallas town to their must-visit list.

Harvest Hall

Harvest Hall is an exciting foodie destination in downtown Grapevine, Texas, just 25 minutes from Dallas and a quick train ride from DFW airport and Fort Worth. Image: Harvest Hall

Chick and Biscuit at Harvest Hall, a new Southern food hall

The innovative food hall concept features local chef-driven restaurant partners serving global scratch-made cuisines. Pictured here? Chick & Biscuit, of course! Image: Facebook

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A FEW MORE SOON-TO-OPEN FOOD HALLS TO PUT ON YOUR RADAR

The Wash | Nashville, TN

The bays of a former East Nashville car wash are being transformed into food and beverage stalls — an exciting addition coming to Music City’s food hall scene this summer. Developer Tyler Cauble will provide a feasible option for chefs and restaurant owners who may not be in the market for a brick-and-mortar space. Stay tuned for more about The Wash in April.

Assembly Food Hall at Fifth & Broadway | Nashville, TN

We’ve been waiting a while for this one, but March 4 is the date! The Fifth & Broadway complex in downtown Nashville will feature outposts of favorites from Hattie B’s to Jeni’s Ice Cream. Formerly the Nashville Convention Center, the behemoth mixed-use development sits on 6.2 acres in the heart of Music City’s bustling downtown and will feature more than 300,000 square feet of restaurants, retail, and entertainment. Adjacent to Fifth & Broadway is Assembly Food Hall that will offer dozens more local and national food and beverage favorites. Find out more assemblyfoodhall.com and fifthandb.com.

RELATED: The New Way to Experience Music in Nashville!

The S & W Market | Asheville, NC

Located in the historic S&W Building in downtown Asheville, The S & W Market will showcase the best of Asheville’s local independent restaurants and beer. Originally built for the S & W Cafeteria in 1929, the new food hall will fulfill its original mission of counter service with affordable, fresh fare, and it will evoke the same energy of the destination that many people fondly remember from years ago. Asheville’s original craft brewery, Highland Brewing, returns to downtown after 25 years to anchor the two-story space. Find out more at swmarketavl.com.

Cartwright Food Hall | Greer, SC

Cartwright Food Hall will be an artisanal lifestyle dining concept featuring local eateries and food retailers. This food hall will introduce the concept of cross-meal ordering, where different meals are enjoyed in a shared seating area. Founded by a group of friends who have a passion for food, family and community, the 7,000-square-foot venue is in the heart of downtown Greer’s newly revitalized Trade Street and will feature local chefs and restaurateurs looking to expand or create their brand identities using Cartwright Food Hall as a test kitchen. Find out more at cartwrightfoodhall.com.

AG’s Market | Orlando, FL

The Hamlin food hall (appropriately monogrammed after Arthur George Hamlin, the orange-farming lawyer who developed the Hamlin orange, still one of Florida’s most popular juice oranges) will sit on 22,000 square feet of lakefront property and serve up everything from craft burgers and pizza to Southern fried chicken and sushi. A second-floor indoor-outdoor bar will look out over sweeping views of Lake Hancock and nightly fireworks at Disney. Find out more at hamlinfl.com.

Here’s to safely exploring, dining and shopping your way through these one-stop halls in 2021!

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