MPR News Staff
The perfect dining experience for the Instagram generation is about to become a lot more prevalent in the metro area.
At least three new food halls are on their way: Market House Collaborative and Keg and Case Market in St. Paul, and Malcolm Yards Market in Minneapolis.
To conceptualize a food hall, think of somewhere like the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. It's open, filled with many vendors and the dining space is communal.
They're perfect for diners who want to walk around, maybe take pictures and have a more social food experience, said Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, a food writer for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.
"People crave community," Moskowitz Grumdahl said. "We don't want to be just on our screens every minute of the day. We want to be out there with people."
This dining tradition has its roots in Europe, but it has grown in the states recently thanks to spots like Eataly, an Italian-focused family of food halls.
Conditions are prime for expansion of food halls in the Twin Cities, Moskowitz Grumdahl said, and she thinks more halls are on their way.
First off, their staff expenses are low. Moskowitz Grumdahl noted the anxiety some businesses have over the incoming $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis.
Unlike traditional restaurants, food halls don't require a wait staff — it's just a counter and a kitchen to fill, since people get their food and seat themselves.
The Cities have many big, industrial spaces that could house a food hall, Moskowitz Grumdahl said. Plus, she said, developing food halls can be less tasking than a major restaurant: "It's easier to get 20 tenants than it is to get one big tenant."