By Stephanie March - April 19, 2017
Food halls certainly seem to be having a moment on the national food scene. Locally, we’ve enjoyed the Midtown Global Market for more than a decade, and the coming Keg & Case Market in St. Paul’s old Schmidt Brewery is hoping to bring people down to West Seventh with a bunch of popular eateries.
There’s one more coming to the mix: Malcolm Yards Market will open sometime next year in the Prospect Park neighborhood, basically across the street from Surly Brewing on 29th Ave. and Malcolm Ave. The food hall will occupy the historic Harris Machinery warehouse, which sits in front of the iconic United Crushers graffiti silo site. The building itself was damaged by fire in recent years, but the renovation will keep much of it intact. The whole area will be known as Malcolm Yards.
Patricia Wall is leading the charge to create Malcolm Yards, and she’s no stranger to the food world. As a grad of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, she led the catering program for Dayton’s Design Cuisine for many years. She also planned events and classes at Kitchen Window’s cooking school before getting her real estate license. Now, working with her husband John on commercial development, she’s excited to create something that will be a fun gathering space in an up and coming neighborhood, such is Prospect Park.
“We love this location, there’s so much happening here," Wall told me. "The market will sit right off the University of Minnesota Transit Way, and it’s a few hundred feet from the Prospect Park Green Line stop, plus we have tons of room marked for parking, so it should be accessible for tons of people. We want to create a greenway, kind of like the High Line in New York, from the light rail platform to go right by the market and Surly.”
Malcolm Yards Market is being planned with a large anchor restaurant tenant on one side, “We think we’ve got a popular Japanese restaurant interested in that spot.” The rest of the food offerings will come from approximately 17 smaller counter-service spots, “We have a lot of interest from people who are looking for smaller footprints, some fun and creative things can be done in 300-600 square feet.” They’ve had interest from a Columbian restaurant and are looking to keep this as an eating adventure. “We’ll want to bring in some high-quality coffee, ice cream, and bakery options, but we have met with many chefs/owners who have ideas about healthy eating or modern food that could be done in a very cool way here. There’s a lot of interest in coming to Malcolm Yards as a way to expand or innovate, which is great for the neighborhood I think.” The center of the space will be occupied by general seating, and a large full bar that potentially could be focused by a local distillery. Laura Chin, whose name has been linked to the project, has been helping with the marketing and leasing of the food hall, but Wall noted that she would not be running any sort of food business from the space, as was mentioned in some early reporting.
The area surrounding the historic Harris Machinery building will see a lot of action it the coming years, with some 1,700 apartment units being built over the next few years. “We’ve traveled to a ton of food halls around the country, and we think we’ve figured out what will work well here, what the right mix of upscale and approachable will be so that it can be a hot spot for locals.” Wall is currently working with tenants and finalizing construction plans. “We thought we could get it done before Super Bowl, but that’s really not likely. We’ll be here much longer than one week’s party anyway!”
I keep thinking of The Source in Denver, which I loved visiting last year, and I can't wait to see how it all shakes out! Selfishly hoping for ramen and good times.