High-End Food Halls for the Business Traveler and Global Gourmet
From the April 2016 edition of Reserve, a Bloomberg Brief publication.
New York is enjoying a renaissance of food halls, vast spaces where you can get meals to go, buy specialty groceries, or sit down at places that are more than fast-casual but not quite full restaurants, often attached to big-name chefs. They're usually themed and occasionally esoteric; for example, a Nordic food hall and restaurant from Noma co-founder Claus Meyer is opening this spring at Grand Central Station, while chef and author Anthony Bourdain is developing an Asian street-scene extravaganza on Pier 57 in Chelsea. In London, where whole streets are markets, several giant markets are under construction and individual shops are upping their game.
Here's where to nosh next, from Detroit to Copenhagen.
The Pennsy: Quality sandwiches and salads from names such as Mario Batali and meat master Pat LaFrieda. It's less about take-home and more about decent eats before a game at Madison Square Garden or a train from Penn Station. Related: What to Eat at Penn Station’s New Celeb-Chef Food Court
Urbanspace Vanderbilt: The linchpin of Grand Central's transformation into an evolving food neighborhood. It works for either lunch or dinner, with multiple "home meal replacement" vendors for takeout.
Liverpool Street Station: Formerly a bleak transit hub, it's now an area surrounded by markets. Check out Old Spitalfields Market, filled with artisanal shops and eats such as Verde & Co. and Taberna do Mercado. There's also Pitt Cue for barbecue, Franco Manca for pizza, and Jose Pizarro for tapas all within a stone's throw of the station.
King's Cross: An area that seemed doomed to industrial blight is booming with shops and restaurants like the German Gymnasium, Grain Store, and a branch of Dishoom under the railway arches for Harry Potter fans.
Selfridges: Multiple restaurant options that include the ever-changing rooftop hovering over Oxford Street.
Harrods: Still the best food hall in the world for sheer variety and quality.
The city that nurtured Claus Meyer, Rene Redzepi, and the Nordic food "revolution" has become a global food destination.
Torvehallerne: Two giant glass sheds house more than 60 different vendors. Think of it as a Paris street market meets the mostly frigid north with a combination of fresh produce as well as a place for Danish open-faced sandwiches.
Copenhagen Street Food: Perhaps the most envied market in Europe for its sheer international variety, the number of stalls that set new food trends, and its laid-back warehouse feel. Its position harborside with the best views of the city doesn't hurt, either.
Kodbyen Mad & Marked: The newest market in the chic meatpacking district is an attempt to bring the newfound fame of the food scene a bit back down to earth. Much of the same fare as Torvehallerne, at a fraction of the price.
More Global Highlights
Eataly: This international Italian chain is booming. From groceries to restaurants to the rooftop beer bar, the New York location captures the zeitgeist of the city's obsession with food. The only negatives are high prices and crowds. The company has just opened a new market in São Paulo, which follows the same format as the originals but is even larger. Its planned Boston expansion at the Prudential Center follows a similar trend, placing markets just near enough to where people work and where they travel to get home. An Eataly Los Angeles is in the works, too.
Portland, Ore.: In the land of food trucks, the newly opened Pine Street Market attempts to make the whole Portland food revolution a lot more civilized. Its location on the waterfront puts it dead center of the West Coast food zeitgeist.
Detroit: As the city rises again, food takes a role front and center. Jonathan Hartzell, co-chief executive officer of Detroit ShipYard, has purchased a strip of land that was the old Chinatown and by summer will house the city's burgeoning culinary scene in shipping containers.
New Orleans: When people ask how to get a true sense of the Big Easy, I send them to St. Roch Market. It's a slice of Southern life mixed up the way only New Orleans mixes things up. Cocktails, next to coffee, next to gumbo.