Food Halls are so not new. The trend started 25 years ago, of course, with the renovation of the Chelsea Market. But like anything that starts in New York, it takes a while to emigrate west, more than two decades, to be exact. Food Halls are essentially a “fussifying” of the mall food court we all grew up with. You will not find a Sbarro, Mrs. Fields or an Orange Julius, however. Instead, the focus is on “upscale” offerings (aren’t we tired of that word?) which as a matter of practice essentially means that a slice of pizza costs $17. All cynicism aside, the upside gives small local operators a space that isn’t a food truck to bring their food to the masses and offers the synergy of banding together with a selection of other vendors to draw a variety of eaters, which is kind of perfect for all of us who can never collectively decide where to eat. Also, there’s beer, wine and cocktails.
Hall Pass, at the Gateway, was the first such endeavor. Opening in 2019, it was forced to limp along during the lockdown but a recent visit revealed (pardon the pun) a healthy crowd, excellent options in the vendors and perhaps proof that the Food Hall is here to stay. As further evidence, consider the latest entry to the Hall business, Woodbine Food Hall & Rooftop Bar, in the blooming Granary District. Its management team Zachary Howa, Ryan Reich and Max Coreth renovated the space that once was Jorge Fierro’s Rico’s warehouse and Frida Bistro after Fierro bought a new warehouse space and moved his operation.
The renovation turned the former commercial warehouse into a bright, airy space with lifted ceilings and skylights.
“We wanted to keep this space open to the public,” says Howa. “It’s one of the best buildings in Salt Lake City and a location that brings the east and west sides together.
As its name says, Woodbine has a full liquor license with a 21-and-over bar up front and on the roof. Inside the hall beer and wine is available. The Hall has spaces for up to nine establishments and thus far there are five tenants (see below). When we visited last summer there was still a bit of construction dust in the air but the space located close to the new Slackwater Pizza and on the same road as the established Kittos Tap room has the potential to become a catalyzing space in this growing part of town, which essentially is a food desert apart from Slackwater, occasional food trucks at Kiitos and Fisher Brewing and now, Woodbine.
“There’s a lot of room for growth in this neighborhood and a chance to create a brand new city space,” Howa says.
545 W. 700 South, SLC
What’s Inside Woodbine Food Hall and Rooftop Bar
There are currently five food vendors in Woodbine open with plans to open up to nine more. All of the vendors are locally owned and many sprang from incubator kitchens or small catering operations. “We wanted to create an opportunity for people starting out,” Howa says.
With an established location in Provo, Woodbine provided Mozz a chance to expand into SLC. @mozz.pizza
Chef/Owner Taylor Giullian’s first commercial endeavor features what he describes as an internationally inspired small menu of sandwiches “that I’d like to eat.” He hopes you will too. @deadpan_sandwich
The Taco Lady was a catering operation looking to make the move to brick and mortar under the Woodbine Food Hall roof.
The established Holladay cafe is opening its second location at Woodbine.
This one wasn’t fully open on our first visit but more ramen seems fine to us.
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