As with most culinary trends, it can often take time for big national movements to filter down to the streets of Utah. Food halls are a perfect example.
For years, we visited our big city cousins in New York and San Francisco and cooed at their fluid food spaces. We’d return home with tales of flexible modular setups, one-stop showcases for small businesses that might not otherwise have had a chance to shine.
As rents have inched up, though, so has the need for such spaces in Salt Lake City and surrounding cities.
In response, food halls of all shapes and size have been popping up over the Wasatch these past few years. The gargantuan Woodbine was the boldest addition to the inventory in 2022, and the next to join the burgeoning collection is the 7,500-square-foot Local Market + Bar, at 310 E. 400 South, near downtown Salt Lake City.
The Local is housed in the $110 million Exchange project, a multi-use building that encompasses residential and commercial property. If you find yourself pondering Salt Lake City’s ever crane-laden skyline, know that the site’s twin residences, Avia and Mya, are already both at full occupancy, according to the owners.
The Local Market + Bar is set to join the Exchange roster of facilities, and welcome both residents (there will be a special to-go option for tenants of the adjoining units) and the public alike.
The food hall is scheduled to open Tuesday, with an octet of options will greet guests. The lineup was selected by chef Akhtar Nawab, a former Michelin Bib Gourmand winner and co-CEO of Hospitality HQ, the consulting group behind the creation. The names chosen represent a mix of local and national — one you might have even spied on TV before.
Lamb & Feta • Geoff Patmides is the big local name helming two of the stations at The Local. Patmides previously made his name on the dining scene with Taylorsville’s The Local Greek. Now permanently shuttered, the business was highly rated for a Greek menu that went beyond gyro and souvlaki — into fire-grilled lamb chops with a side of tirokafteri. Lamb & Feta will offer a familiar reprise of Mediterranean flavors.
Hog & Tradition BBQ • Patmides’ other new venture is a completely new outing. The presser for the hall’s imminent arrival notes “he has perfected the BBQ sandwich along with a myriad of other barbecue dishes.” If that’s not enough to get a line forming down the street, I don’t know what is.
Green Chile House • Another local face, making a familiar evolutionary leap from food truck to food hall permanence. The menu taps chef and owner Francisco “Poncho” Portillo’s home state of New Mexico for Southwestern flair via tacos, nachos and tortas.
Crave • Another Utah-based brand, offering “high-quality comfort foods and healthy to-go sandwiches and salads, with brunch offerings daily.”
Luna Pizza Cafe • Hailing from Greenville, North Carolina, Luna brings award-winning brick-oven pizzas — ones that have apparently snagged accolades for best pizza in NC for for four years in a row.
The Cereal Killerz Kitchen • This eatery comes by way of Vegas, and was featured on ABC’s reality series “Shark Tank.” The company “encourages diners to draw inspiration from the hundreds of cereal options to create unique ice cream, milkshake or iced coffee creations.”
Pop’s Burgers • Pop’s will be delivering an “Americana” burger joint, serving up currently trendy “smash” burgers, hot dogs, fries and also “old fashioned ice box cakes that feature quality, locally sourced ingredients.”
Good Bar • An onsite bar, run by The Local itself. The bar has already received a full-service restaurant license, so expect craft cocktails, local beer and wine list. The caveat, of course, is that you’ll need to order food before ordering a drink.
Once construction completes, expect a space that’s open seven days a week and caters to breakfast, lunch and dinner crowds. A calendar of events will follow along, too — think local live music, trivia nights and more.
Editor’s note • Stuart Melling is the creator of Gastronomic SLC, which has a content-sharing agreement with The Salt Lake Tribune.