After a couple of weeks of a “soft launch,” staff at Warehouse Food Hall are gearing up for the eatery’s official opening celebrations this weekend.
“There’s nothing like this here, right?” general manager Courtney Trujillo said. “Everybody’s so positive, and we’re excited. We have future things that we’re planning on doing and stuff, and I think it’s gonna take off. Everybody’s gonna learn and grow together.”
The idea for the food hall came from the success that the restaurant concept had in larger cities, like Denver. Amanda Montgomery, managing director of Four Points Funding in Steamboat Springs, which is overseeing the project, said that food halls offer a unique opportunity for small businesses to get jump-started. In a food hall, restaurateurs, coffee baristas and grocers can rent small spaces at a lower cost within the large hall than it would cost to start a business from scratch.
“I think it fits better in a community like Craig, because you don’t have to start a restaurant with a half a million dollars,” Montgomery said. “You can start it with a much smaller footprint and then work on your menu and your branding. Then, when you’re ready, you can move out.”
Rae Ely-Kohpay is also involved at Warehouse Food Hall, located at 1589 W Victory Way. She said one of her goals is making local produce accessible to people in the community.
“One of the biggest issues that we face is kind of where we live and the climate that we live in,” Ely-Kohpay said. “That limits a lot of people with the fresh produce that they can grow, the animals that they can have (and) that kind of thing, but there are a lot of people that do like that stuff at home (and grow their own produce). I would love to bring it to the market.”
Currently, the grocery side of the market features items from local honey farmers and salt makers, but organizers of the food hall are looking to expand that to those who are not necessarily professionals who might bring in work or goods.
“We would really like to — especially for high school students — give (students) the option to bring in their arts or crafts and commission their own for them,” Ely-Kohpay added.
Though in its early steps, Warehouse Food Hall has already hosted larger-scale events for the community. Last Friday, Warehouse staff streamed the Moffat County High School football game against Steamboat Springs on TV screens in the food hall. Trujillo said that it’s a major goal to host other community events throughout the first year of the opening. Autumn events are first on tap.
“What we’re going to do is probably shut down our parking lot, (and) it’s going to be like a harvest festival,” Trujillo said. “We’re going to do it big — maybe get some fog machines and some spooky decorations. We’re hoping to have face paintings and costume contests for the kids, as well as some spooky music and fun stuff going on. That’s probably our biggest thing coming up that soon.”
Though there is not a set date for the official grand opening, Trujillo said that they will celebrate all weekend long at Warehouse Food Hall.