Salt Lake City’s Granary District is loud with the sound of jackhammers, cranes and dump trucks, and it seems like every block is circled with chain-link fences, as new buildings go up at a rapid pace.
One of those new projects is Woodbine Food Hall & Tavern (545 W. 700 South, Salt Lake City), a 2½-year project by partners Zachary Howa, Ryan Reich and Max Coreth.
The hall sits in a building that dates back to the early 1900s, when it was used as a metal processing plant. Renovating the building required a lot of structural reinforcement and rehab; Howa said crews poured 18 inches of concrete to create the floor in the food hall proper. In the bar, the woodwork was all made by hand by carpenter Chad Perkins of The Furniture Joint.
As much as possible, Howa said, they left original elements: Exposed brick, a big metal crane at the back of the building that was used in metal fabrication, and a yellow and green diamond-patterned piece of wall from the Rico Bean and Tortilla Plant that resided there from 2002 until it was forced out in 2020. (Rico’s did find a new home after Woodbine bought the property).
The bar — which is operated by Howa, Reich and Coreth, and opened on July 13 — features a rooftop patio that looks out over the neighborhood, including nearby Kiitos Brewing and Slackwater Pizza. It’s 21-and-up only; diners can bring food in from the hall, but drinkers can’t take their beverages out of the bar.
The individual restaurants, including 3 Cups Coffee and Mozz Pizza (which opened July 29), Kirban & The Taco Lady (which opened August 3), Deadpan Sandwich (which was scheduled to open August 5) and Yakuza Ramen (which is set to open September 1) are all independent businesses.
“These are all Utah restaurants,” Howa said. “Some have never had a brick and mortar, others this is their secord or possibly third location. We just wanted to build a community around this, and bridge the gap between the east and the west side.”
The development’s plans call for each restaurant in the hall to have a license allowing them to serve beer and wine, but patrons must remain seated while drinking. Howa said they are working with individual restaurants and the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services to work out the licensing.
The hall space seats about 200 people, and the businesses on the left side of the hall, including 3 Cups, have walk-up windows so customers can pick up food to go or for take-out. Howa said that eventually they will put up a large-screen TV in the middle of the hall, to broadcast such events as baseball games and the World Cup soccer tournament (which starts Nov. 21, from Qatar).
The big glass doors at the back of the hall open out into a covered, heated patio space that faces a wall of murals painted by local graffiti artists.
“We want to do events like pop-up markets, and have food trucks and other stuff out here,” Howa said. “We actually have one food truck that might be permanent. And we really want to activate the alleyway.”
The food hall will be attached to a large, multiphase development, to be rolled out over the next several months, that will include office space and housing.
“Phase one will be 6,000 feet of office space,” Howa said. “Phase two will be 35,000 square feet. There will be another 35,000 square feet of office space at some time, and then we’re thinking about on the 800 South side doing 500 multi-family housing units.”
Overall, Howa said, Woodbine’s spirit is as a community gathering place, a spot for all kinds of people and flavors to come together. (That includes flavors of beer — the bar will rotate out different Utah beers each month, with new brews announced via Woodbine’s Instagram page.)
Howa said Woodbine has two restaurants that have committed to moving in soon, but that they’ve left a few booths empty, and would like the neighborhood to weigh in on what they’d like to see in those spaces.
“We put in what we thought was awesome,” he said. “And now it’s up to the community, as far as what they want.”
Food hall hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Tavern hours are 3-11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m Friday, noon to 1 a.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.