Always on board with hot new trends, Dallas is about to get the latest buzzy concept in dining: a food hall. Coming in spring 2016 to Uptown Dallas, Uptown Urban Market will go into the former Sfuzzi space at the Gables Villa Rosa on Cedar Springs Road.
Founders are Mark Brezinski and Jonathan Tobolowsky, who hope to re-create the spirit of food halls such as Chelsea Market in New York or the Public Market in Milwaukee.
Food halls are emerging as a major trend, with two dozen poised to open across the country. "Long a tradition in Europe and other parts of the world, the multifaceted, typically indoor markets showcasing a variety of local food vendors and artisans are finally hitting it big in America," Eater says, citing Italian concept Eataly as the front-runner.
The former Sfuzzi space has 7,000 square feet, which is enough room for up to eight food stalls, says Tobolowsky, a former commercial real estate developer.
"Each stall will specialize in a specific food offering, from pizza to tacos to grab-and-go sushi and great salads," he says. "There will also be a coffee shop, a fresh juice counter, and even a speakeasy-type bar."
They envision it as an all-day "beehive," open in the morning with coffee and breakfast tacos, at lunch for gatherings and lunch meetings, and in the afternoon for a glass of wine. There will be delivery options too.
Brezinski says that the Gables ownership is looking for vendors with recognizable names and stellar reputations.
"We want to offer the great talent in Dallas an opportunity to expand their brands, experiment with cutting-edge offerings, and consider this a place to test high-quality products in an area that is dense with residences and offices," Brezinski says.
Brezinski is known for fast-casual restaurants such as Tin Star, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Velvet Taco, and, most recently, Banh Shop. But he was also involved with Trinity Groves, the incubator concept in West Dallas.
Although that also has multiple tenants under one roof, Trinity Groves consists of individual sit-down restaurants with full service. Uptown Urban Market will be more casual and communal. There'll be some indoor seating and a huge patio, with a strong facet of grab-and-go.
"With the density in that particular area of Uptown and the shortage of places to go like this for all-day, in-and-out selections, I think this will be a real amenity for the neighborhood," Brezinski says. "There are 10,000 people who live within a half-mile walking distance to that corner."
The duo has already solicited some of their favorite vendor candidates, but they are still seeking "top gear" operators. Interested parties can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It's open to anybody who has an existing business and wants to expand to that area without having to open their own place," Brezinski says.