The food hall revolution
It’s no shocker that the traditional retail and restaurant landscapes have shifted dramatically in recent years. Consumers shopping online and diners going for delivery have fueled the continued development of engaging experiences. Why go out to a meal when you can dive into some eatertainment?
Food halls attract crowds that feed off the buzz of those crowds. The most successful showcase buzzworthy, often chef-driven restaurants. Think Eggslut at Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles, Hog Island Oyster Co. at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and Roberta’s at Urbanspace Vanderbilt in Manhattan.
Then, there’s HallPass, the fever dream of developer, Reed Slobusky. He first made a splash introducing a fast-casual concept called SkinnyFATS in Las Vegas in 2013. Rather than gathering various players for HallPass, Slobusky and his culinary crew developed various concepts under one roof and SkinnyFATS is at the heart of the hall.
SkinnyFATS features a clever menu divided down the middle, the healthy “skinny” stuff on one side and the decadent items on the flip side. All dishes come with a side of tongue-in-cheek names: CauliFIRE is Buffalo-sauce kissed cauliflower while Balls are deep-fried, cheese-stuffed risotto finished in a pesto aioli.
The 11,000-square foot space at The Gateway is filled with design details you’d expect to find at fine dining spots. Dramatic tables custom-made from wood from Thailand create a natural flow around the circular room. Lighting features are sleek and modern.
Your party can grab a seat and order from one of the eight counters before huddling back up. Diners are given a portable buzzer to indicate when food’s ready. From every seat, there’s a view into the exhibition kitchens.
On trend offerings
Among the food counters, options read like the latest greatest hits of food trends:
- Raining Ramen offers several styles of from-scratch broth — tonkatsu, shoyu, miso — and various extra toppings.
- Colossal Lobster serves traditional lobster rolls and a lobster Reuben.
- Blaze of Thunder showcases fiery hot chicken sandwiches.
- CodSpeed is all about various preparations of seafood.
- Hibachican, a Benihana-style flat-top grill, will feature guest chefs and multi-course meals.
- GuacPusher is made-to-order guacamole, served table-side.
- Things in a Bowl features an extensive lineup of bowl-based meals including “More Cow Bowl.”
On the liquid refreshment front, Beer Zombies Tap Room and Beer Garden describes its mission: “A band of gypsy brewers collaborate closely with best-in-class craft breweries around the country to create unique brews unique to its taps.”
There’s also a teeny password-protected speakeasy in the center of the space, sure to be a hot spot. (Except you won’t be able to follow the action in the main space, which has seating for 300.)
The welcome arrival of HallPass is just part of The Gateway’s rebranding efforts, which include beefing up outdoor performance spaces and curating more lifestyle-driven tenants such as Punch Bowl Social. That wildly successful dining experience concept has 19 locations across the country, with the Salt Lake City venue being its first-ever 21+ operation.