Following much anticipation, the Food Hall at City Foundry is now open. Situated in Midtown between Cortex and St. Louis University—where much of the patronage is expected to come from—the food hall is one of several projects inside the expansive, mixed-use development. Currently, eleven restaurants are open for business, with more set to open soon.
The space itself is high-ceilinged and industrial, but far from sterile. Plant-wrapped columns rise from the centers of tables, and patches of glass reveal spots of colorful brickwork amid the concrete floor. Moreover, each restaurant brings its own character. Clean, artsy and minimalist; brassy and industrial; a sign full of lightbulbs that says “WAFFLES;” an eight-foot-tall painting in comic-book style of a bright red dragon holding several tacos—it’s all there.
That individual character does not just apply to the décor. Assorted cuisines are represented in the restaurants, some for the first time and some that St. Louisians will be familiar with. Amy Guo and Dan Jensen, known for their food truck, Sando Shack, finally have the restaurant they came to St. Louis to open – Hello Poke – which serves poke bowls. Another established brand, Turmeric, follows the success of its Delmar Loop location with a “Street Style” spin-off at the Food Hall, serving more casual fare inspired by Indian street food.
Another well-known spot is the beloved Kalbi Taco Shack, formerly of Cherokee Street, which has relocated to the Food Hall. Owner Sue Wong Shackelford is excited about moving into the new space. “It’s better late than never,” she says with a smile, nodding to the delays the project has faced, including those caused by COVID-19. Now, though, she is focused on being part of building such an exciting piece of the city’s food scene. She appreciates the new community as well.
“I love being a part of the whole group of kitchens, and knowing the other chefs,” Wong Shackelford says. “Everybody gets along, we’re all friendly, helping each other, that’s what it’s all about.”
Other food options include Buenos Aires Cafe, Chez Ali, and Subdivision, a former pandemic-inspired sandwich pop-up from the owners of the Bellwether and Polite Society. For breakfast (or any time one wants breakfast food), Press Waffle Co. provides Belgian waffles with extravagant toppings from s’mores to fried chicken, while Good Day – another project by the Bellwether and Polite Society crew – brings sweet and savory crepes to the table. Dessert can be found at Patty’s Cheesecakes or Poptimism, which serves unique flavors of frozen treats, including coffee custard and pomegranate goat cheese popsicles.
Drawing the whole space together is the central Kitchen Bar, operated by Gerard Craft’s prolific Niche Food Group, known for Pastaria, Brasserie, and more. Craft is also the culinary director of the Food Hall, curating the restaurants that are present and deciding on future possibilities. Craft has suggested in the past that his vision for the Food Hall goes beyond serving food—farmers, butchers, and potters who make plates and bowls may have a place in the Food Hall one day.
The Food Hall aims to offer a great dining option for indecisive groups or those with differing tastes. With its intriguing green-industrial space and so many options, there will surely be something for everyone.
Click through for more photos of the Food Hall at City Foundry.