Next-Gen Food Courts

Food hall projects in the U.S. experienced nearly 70 percent growth from 2015 to 2017, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. More than gourmet food courts, the latest culinary emporiums feature on-site cooking studios, coffee bars, and breweries, and we’ll see more of these spaces helmed by a single chef in the coming year. Here, a strategy for all-day dining at three of the most ambitious newcomers.

BY JEN MURPHY — Summer 2018

Isabella Eatery

McLean, Va.

Top Chef finalist and D.C.-area restaurateur Mike Isabella showcases his greatest hits at this 41,000-square-foot food court on the top floor of Tysons Galleria shopping mall. Nine dining options include offshoots of his popular concepts such as Yona sushi bar and Spanish restaurant Arroz, in addition to Isabella’s first coffee bar, ice cream parlor, and cocktail spot.

10 a.m. Nonfiction Coffee
Order: Coffee made from artisanal beans from Kenya and a kouign-amann, a French croissant on steroids

Noon Arroz
Order: Gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), patatas bravas (fried potatoes with sauce), and 36-month-aged jamon iberico (cured ham)

5 p.m. Requin
Order: Half a dozen briny Olde Salts oysters paired with a glass of dry Jean Marc Lafont Cremant de Bourgogne champagne

5:30 p.m. Octagon Bar
Order: A Sbagliato, an aperitivo of aperol, rosso vermouth, and cava brut

7 p.m. Yona
Order: Tyson roll (eel, tamago omelet, avocado, cucumber, eel sauce) and assorted nigiri

9 p.m. Retro Creamery
Order: Affogato milkshake

La Centrale


The next best thing to visiting Italy is shopping and dining at this three-floor, 40,084-square-foot Italian food hall at the shops at Brickell City Centre. You can purchase all of the ingredients featured in the 14 eateries, from homemade mozzarella to house-cured salumi, in the on-site Mercato. Brush up on your pasta-making at the cooking studio.

9 a.m. Caffé
Order: An espresso and avocado toast topped with poached eggs, stracciatella, sauteed zucchini, and roasted cherry tomatoes

11 a.m. Mercato
Buy: House-made cavatelli and a bottle of Tenuta Calissoni Bulgari olive oil from Lazio

12:30 p.m. Pizza e Pasta
Order: Speck e Tartufo pie topped with Savini black truffle, mozzarella, ricotta, mushrooms, and a farm egg

3 p.m. Gelateria by Venchi
Order: Two scoops of chocolate gelato topped with caramelized hazelnuts

7 p.m. Pesce
Order: Fritto Misto (a mix of fried foods) and a whole branzino to share

9 p.m. Aperitivo Bar
Order: A glass of Nardini Grappa Bianca

Legacy Hall

Plano, Texas

One year in the making, this behemoth three-floor, 55,000-square-foot food mecca in the Dallas suburb of Plano boasts 20-plus food stalls hawking everything from gourmet doughnuts and bao (steamed buns filled with meat) to poke and lobster rolls. You’ll also find six bars, as well as an on-site craft brewery and taproom.

9 a.m. Juice Bar
Order: Start Me Up, a mix of pineapple, green apple, and mint

9:30 a.m. Glazed Donut Works
Order: Maple bacon doughnut 

Noon Red Stix Yakitori & Banh Mi
Order: Charcoal-grilled chicken skewers over vermicelli noodles topped with herbs, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts

1:30 p.m. Haute Sweets Patisserie
Buy: A box of matcha tea, red velvet, and PB&J macarons

4 p.m. Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co.
Taste: After a taproom tour, the hoppy Blind Justice IPA

7 p.m. Knife Burger
Order: The Magic burger on a Thomas’ English muffin topped with tomato, cheddar and bacon


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This