Uptown is first out of the gate in Dallas on the ultra-trendy food hall concept, with the opening of Uptown Urban Market, which debuts the first week of November.
The Market is opening on the ground level of the Gables Villa Rosa residential building at 2650 Cedar Springs Rd., with 7,000 square feet dedicated to food stalls manned by high-end local independents such as La Duni Baking Studio, Buda Juice, and pizza trailblazer Fireside Pies. The project was conceived by restaurant concept guru Mark Brezinski, in collaboration with Jonathan Tobolowsky, a former commercial real estate developer.
The duo surveyed famed food halls across the country such as Faneuil Hall in Boston, for inspiration for UUM, which occupies an unusual space that was previously home to a series of failed restaurants.
"With the residents in the building and all of the apartments going up in the neighborhood, it seemed like a smarter idea to make this space an amenity," Brezinski says.
So they created a practical destination where locals could get coffee in the morning, sit down for a bite or a glass of wine, or grab something to-go. The space has outlets and Wi-Fi access everywhere, plus varying seating arrangements, ranging from a communal table to stools at the bar to a cool circular "zen room" that looks out onto the street.
They're most excited about a conference room they've created that can be used for meetings, special dinners, or even pop-up events such as sales of holiday goodies.
Their renovation of the space, which was most recently Sfuzzi's, is transformative. They knocked down walls, installed large windows, added two entrances that open onto the street, and built a patio that looks out onto Cedar Springs. It all combines to replace the prior dark impenetrability with a more inviting, street-friendly, and, most importantly, accessible personality.
They gutted the interior to create a big open space. They removed the restaurant's carpeting to uncover a dark cement floor, with occasional patches of roughness that lend a funky, urban vibe that fits with the cosmopolitan experience they're trying to provide. The handsome communal table that anchors the space was fabricated from wood they reclaimed during the renovation.
Vendors include THC, aka The Hot Counter, a new concept from chef Gilbert Garza, owner of Suze restaurant; and The Cupboard, the market's grab-and-go operation, which is being done by chef Tiffany Derry, who has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Hungry Investors and Top Chef.
Each stall will specialize in a specific food offering, from pizza to tacos to sushi to salads. La Duni will do coffee and pastries, and there's also an in-house bar called BarUp that will serve beer, wine, and beverages paired with the food offerings, such as sake for the sushi.
Another bar called Ill Minster sits next door, executed by the team behind bars like Truth & Alibi and the Tipsy Alchemist. Although connected to the market, it's a separate entity, with a clubby environment, plush leather couches, and brick on the wall. It's someplace neighbors can get a beer and watch a game on TV, and it's OK to bring food in from the UUM.
To further engage the neighborhood, the folks from Local Hub will offer a bikes-for-rent set up on the patio for those wanting to ride the Katy Trail a block away.
"It was important for us to get top-level talent here, and it gives them an opportunity to expand their brands and experiment with new ideas," Brezinski says.