You can have whatever you like at 7 Chicago food halls

The term “food hall” might conjure up visions of stuffy dorm cafeterias, stale mall food courts and unlimited orange chicken samples. Forget that. Food halls are back and better than ever with at least seven (and counting) options in Chicago offering top-notch eats from some of the area’s brightest chefs. Because why shouldn’t downtown diners be able to eat tacos and a bowl of ramen in the same sitting?

“High-end food halls offer a unique dining experience in one location, providing a variety of options and a common place to eat and socialize,” said Victor Alvarez, founding partner of Alvarez & Marsal Property Investments (AMPI), which will open a food hall at 205 W. Wacker Drive next spring.

If variety is the name of the game, Revival Food Hall, which opened in the Loop last month, is the current MVP, with seafood, barbecue, fried chicken, poke, pizza and more. The sprawling food court from 16” On Center (Longman & Eagle, Moneygun, The Promontory) tasked its chef partners with focusing on one or two dishes each—and doing them well—to avoid having 20 burger options, managing partner Bruce Finkelman said.

“We really wanted to give people who not only work downtown but tourists in the area and people who are visiting a really great slice of our Chicago and our neighborhoods,” he said. “Because that’s what Chicago is known for—it’s the city of neighborhoods.”

 And apparently a city of food halls, too. Here’s what to know about the seven major players—lingering Cinnabon fumes sold separately.

Foodlife | 835 N. Michigan Ave. 312-335-3663
 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
This Water Tower staple that launched in 1993 could easily be considered the O.G. of all Chicago food halls. The Lettuce Entertain You concept offers 14 distinct restaurants serving stir fry, soups, pizza, sushi, pasta, salad, barbecue—you get the idea. Many diners grab their meals and head back to the office, but there’s seating available for those brave enough to fend off tourists and shoppers.

By Moira Lawler


(September 13, 2016)