"A Food Hall Lures the Lunch Crowd in Chicago"

The New York Times recently published an article featuring Revival Food Hall. Read the excerpt below, and follow the link at the bottom for the full story.

By FLORENCE FABRICANT
OCT. 11, 2016

The regional food hall — a kaleidoscope of local, artisanal purveyors that has been well established for decades in cities on the East and West Coasts — has finally made it to Chicago. But what took so long?

“You don’t have food halls like this because Chicago does not have the same density as elsewhere — people don’t live close to where they work,” said Craig Golden, one of the developers behind the Revival Food Hall, which opened in late August in the former Commercial National Bank in the heart of the Loop.

Chicagoans call the building the National. Mr. Golden’s Blue Star Properties bought it last year after the offices of Chicago Public Schools moved out; the food hall occupies 24,000 square feet of the ground floor. Daniel Burnham, the architect behind the Flatiron Building in New York and one of Chicago’s marquee architects, designed the 1907 structure in the Classical Revival style, with an impressive facade of colossal Corinthian columns.

Inside is a sprawl of 15 stalls preparing and selling Mexican fare, pizza, sandwiches, barbecue, baked goods, ramen, poke, seafood, gelato, salads, coffee, cocktails and wine. Most are offshoots of small restaurants and food trucks that have been established in other neighborhoods. “We did not want chains,” Mr. Golden said.

While Chicago does have an Eataly, it’s part of a global group, more market than place to eat and without the same highly localized identity. What Revival Food Hall accomplishes is to fill a lunchtime need, Chicago style.

“It’s hard to find neighborhood restaurants in the work area,” said Bruce Finkelman, Mr. Golden’s partner in the project.

The developers sought out food entrepreneurs representing the latest in Chicago dining to occupy the space.

“This gives local hardworking chefs a chance to get started in a high-rent area without some of the expenses of going it alone,” Mr. Finkelman said. Even the furnishings have been built by Chicago artisans.

Credit Nathan Weber for The New York Times

Credit Nathan Weber for The New York Times