A tour of the trending food halls in Chicagoland

Gourmet food halls have always been popular in Europe, but only recently have they made a big splash in the United States. For decades, in fact, Americans’ conception of a food hall equated to quick-serve food courts in malls and airports. But no longer. Chicago is now lucky to house some of the best avant-garde incarnations out there, with outposts of popular restaurants, gigantic salad bars, curated markets, and a bounty of gourmet prepared foods. These multi-faceted concepts are popping up throughout the city with no sign of slowing down. Here are seven (and an additional one on the way) that are worth checking out.

bEa’s Market {671 North St. Clair Street; 312.642.0001}

Concepts: A soup bar, housemade sandwiches, and salads are on offer alongside a rotating selection of hot and cold items.

Design/layout: The back of Beatrix’s second location in Streeterville houses the small, bright white market where the salad bar is the focal point and plenty of grab-and-go options line the walls.

Foodlife {835 North Michigan Avenue; 312.335.3663}

Concepts: 14 different concepts, including a pizza stop, a juice bar, a taqueria, and Chinese food haven from Big Bowl.

Design/layout: The expansive space takes over the mezzanine level of the Water Tower with concepts around every corner and plenty of seating.

By Samantha Lande

Dining Out Chicago

(January 12, 2017)