A locally-driven food hall that's been in the works for nearly three years is making its long-awaited debut. Called Maple Street Food Hall, it's a new concept in Dallas' Medical District featuring a collection of five chef-driven food concepts under one roof, including cuisines such as Asian, Mexican, healthy/organic, coffee, and a full bar.
Located at 4711 Maple St., the enterprise was founded by Ray Quintanilla, an entrepreneur who previously operated businesses at DFW Airport, with a goal of serving the Medical District and Oak Lawn as well as diners seeking foodie adventures.
It's also a plucky effort by Quintanilla and his family to stave off redevelopment by repurposing the former Quintanilla Furniture store, which they've relocated down the street.
The 8,400-square-foot building has been divvied up into vendor spaces, with a shared common space, full bar, and a brand new 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio on the side of the building.
Three well-regarded restaurants have already opened, with more in the works, including one familiar name:
Mai Eats Lao Kitchen & Tropical Juice Bar. Mai Eats is a family business founded by entrepreneur Anita Dangerfield that brings Lao cuisine to the DFW community. They started at the Dallas Farmers Market in 2018 operating only on the weekends, and are now excited for the opportunity to be sharing Lao culture through delicious Lao food every day.
Their spring rolls are hand-rolled and filled with beef & veggies, served with chili sauce and topped with crushed peanuts. They're also known for fresh juices such as watermelon, pineapple, orange, and grapefruit, made to order and served inside the fruit; and their Lao CocoCurry, a red curry with fresh cut veggies over sweet jasmine rice, served in a reusable coconut bowl. They're very vegan-friendly, preparing veggie versions to which they add shredded chicken if requested.
La Calle. Specializing in handmade tortillas, with a menu of tacos, bowls, burritos, and quesadillas.
Lalas Cafe Verde. Founded by Michelle Mireles, former owner of Jorge's Mexican at One Arts District, Lalas first opened at Preston Center in 2017, but closed due to the pandemic. The restaurant still has a loyal following for dishes such as sweet potato & zucchini bowl, Vital Farms egg salad, and vegan cakes.
The Crooked Tree Bar & Beer Garden. Serving cocktails with a mixologist on staff, plus international beers, a massive selection of tequilas, and fun drinks like a spiked frozen pink lemonade.
Quintanilla is a Dallas native and founding board member of DART whose community efforts have included serving on the city's Board of Adjustment. He has a deep understanding of the neighborhood and a clear vision of what the food hall can bring.
"The idea is to have a collection of creative offerings that are complementary to each other — I was definitely going for diversity," he says. "And also to have authentic and independent places that are doing great versions of their own food. Mai Eats has some of the best curry I've ever tried."
"Breakfast was important, too — with all of the hospital personnel, there's definitely a shortage of breakfast options," he says.
He's incorporated a modern and user-friendly ordering system, where you can scan a QR code, submit an order online, or can use a touchscreen tablet at the front booth. There's also a convenient curbside pickup stand in the back of the building where you can drive right up.
Quintanilla is still resolving the final two vendors, and has managed to prevail even despite the pandemic and some very slow-moving wheels at City Hall.
"I've been around here all my life, Quintanilla Furniture was one of the originals in Little Mexico, it's been around for 67 years," he says. "But the area is changing, and I saw that there was a need for something like this."