If the recent closure of the New Orleans auction house market has you hoping, or fearing, that the food hall trend is running out of steam, one Florida-based entrepreneur is betting otherwise. Jamal Wilson is set to open Hall on Mag, a food hall and event space taking over the former auction house market in the Warehouse District.
According to a press release, the Hall on Mag will open this fall at 801 Magazine Street with six vendors, all offering distinct cuisines: South and Common, described as Southern comfort food; Amato Italia, presented as a modern Italian fusion; Ja Nai, Japanese street food and sushi; American Culture, “spicy” American cuisine that will include Creole, Asian and soul influences; Itzayana, Mexican street food; and El Greco, a Mediterranean seafood restaurant. At least one of the food stall names, El Greco, is also listed as a vendor for a Hall’s Orlando location; Eater has asked for more details about the sellers, i.e. the operators behind them and whether they are local businesses, and will update this story if we hear back. Beyond the six stalls, the central bar that anchored the auction room will remain, and a private event space called “the library” with its own bar is planned.
Jamal Wilson, professional athlete turned entrepreneur, opened the Hall on Franklin in Tampa in 2017 with the aim of “revolutionizing” the food hall concept by offering two types of service, both standard counter service and full service/table service. A few years later Wilson announcement plans for an Atlanta food court, the Hall on Ashford, which is slated to open later this month, and opened the Hall on the Yard in Orlando last year. A second location in Atlanta, the Hall at the Grove, is planned for later in 2022. Wilson has previously said he hopes to bring food halls to Miami, Charlotte, the Virginia-DC area and Alabama in the next few years.
When the auction house market closed in March after four years, the building’s owner and operator, Felicity Property Co., said it “saw a change in the multi-storey food hall model. -suppliers” and that the company was planning to introduce a new concept and operator for the space. It appears that Wilson is that new operator, who said expanding to New Orleans was “an easy decision.” Most food halls offer licenses – rather than leases between stall operators and owner – which typically cover rental fees, use of common space and storage, as well as cooking and leasing services. ‘general maintenance. Eater has reached out to company representatives for details on vendor funding and licensing for Hall on Mag.
The trend for food halls in American cities started about a decade ago and quickly turned into phenomenon — in 2016 alone, the number of food halls in the United States increased by 37%. In New Orleans, the food halls have not necessarily been greeted with the same fervor; The Saint-Roch market opened in 2015 with 13 vendors, but struggled to maintain a full list in the years that followed; there are currently eight kitchens operating out of the market.
The Hall on Mag is recruiting and conducting open interviews Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. at 801 Magazine Street.