Cityscape

A new twist on the food hall trend is coming to the Crossroads

A building at 1707 Locust could be converted into a food hall with seven kitchens, two bars, a lounge and second floor outdoor deck.
A building at 1707 Locust could be converted into a food hall with seven kitchens, two bars, a lounge and second floor outdoor deck. jsmith@kcstar.com

Kansas City chefs will soon be able to test out their new concepts at a Crossroads food hall.

RedWether Collaborative is a partnership between Atlanta-based chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Kevin Gillespie’s Red Beard Restaurants and hospitality developers Meriwether Cos. of Boulder. They have a two-story building at 1707 Locust St. under contract. If all goes as planned the food hall would open in mid-2018.

The 18,000-square-foot Crossroads building would have three kitchens, a lounge area and a main bar on the first floor, and four kitchens, a bar and an outdoor deck on the second floor. Chefs would sign leases of 18 to 24 months.

It will be designed for chefs who want to expand without a lot of overhead. They might have a successful food truck and want to try out a brick-and-mortar location. Established chefs might want to test a new concept and up-and-coming sous chefs might want to move up to chef and helm their own operation.

Gillespie will select the tenants for the Kansas City food hall and his team will mentor the chefs, focusing on the food and service. Meanwhile, Meriwether will focus on the environment, marketing and social media, and bar operations.

“A lot of the food hall craze is by real estate developers. But these are destination restaurants so the food is critical,” said Garrett Simon, a partner in Meriwether.

Meriwether was founded in 2012 but the partnership group has more than 50 years of experience combined. The RedWether Collaborative also plans to do a food hall in Nashville in the third quarter of 2018 and is looking at sites in four other cities.

After launching in trend-setting Los Angeles and New York, food halls have been spreading across the country. Consumers like them because they offer a variety of choices in one location and serve as a community gathering spot. In 2015, Bon Appétit referred to them as 21st-century food courts for food lovers.

A Lenexa food hall, the Lenexa Public Market, plans a July opening with such tenants as the Roasterie, Foo’s Fabulous Cafe and Topp’d Pizza + Salads. The 11,000-square-foot market is at 87th Street Parkway and Penrose Lane.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC

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