Chicago’s first new food hall of 2020, Hayden Hall, officially debuted Monday morning on the second floor of the building nicknamed “Big Red” — in the Loop. It offers 10 restaurants, a first-floor coffee bar, and two bars inside a building where customers can see CTA trains zip by the food hall’s second-floor windows. DMK Restaurants (Ada Street, Fort Willow, DMK Burger Bar) is behind the project and recruited restaurants from across the city. The interiors have a fun feel, said to be inspired by the World’s Fair of 1893.
Hayden Hall also has an unlikely partner: Grubhub, the food delivery company that often rubs restaurants owners the wrong way due to a litany of controversial business practices. Hayden Hall’s counters have touchscreens that use a system called Grubhub Ultimate, a point-of-sale platform that launched in 2019. Customers can also use the Grubhub app to place pick-up orders.
Hayden Hall also offers limited delivery. That’s a challenge for food halls. Restaurants prepare orders at different paces, which complicates pick-up for delivery persons. It also affects the quality of food as some dishes may sit in bags waiting for the completion of other orders. Most restaurant owners at food halls can’t afford delivery services because they already pay a portion of their sales as rent to the food hall’s owners. Paying a third-party service on top of what’s owed to ownership makes delivery a tough way to turn a profit.
How DMK and Grubhub execute deliveries is one thing to keep an eye on as the Loop welcomes another food hall to its ranks. Check out the menu boards and some food shots below. Hayden Hall is now open.
Hayden Hall, inside the CNA Building, 333 S. Wabash Avenue, open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday; closed Sunday. Julia Coffee & Brioche, on the first floor, open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
A short-lived Wicker Park restaurant from the owners of Mana Food Bar, Anaba Handrolls was a rare Chicago spot where customers could enjoy a variation of sushi. The rolls are meant to be eaten immediately, and not taken to a table. Patrons can post up around the cart where the staff will hand them their rolls. They’re invited to eat right there, so the rolls taste fresh.
DeColores is a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant in Pilsen, and its owners have found a few opportunities to expand. They have a stall at Midway International Airport, and now at Hayden Hall. Find tacos, burritos, and more. Vegetarians, vegans, and folks into imitation meat will note they also offer Impossible Meat crumbles in tacos.
Chef Joe Farina is quietly building an empire of red-sauce Italian restaurants. Victory Italian’s flagship is in River North, but Farina also has restaurants in the South Loop and in the suburbs. Victory’s known for meatballs, pizza, and Farina is really keen on the Italian heroes.
The owners of BopNGrill, the Korean-American burger experts with locations in Rogers Park and Lakeview, also have an Evanston restaurant which focuses on chicken. 10Q (short for “thank you”) brings wings, bimbimbop-like rice bowls, and fried chicken sandwiches to the food hall.
Few local food halls are complete without Brown Bag’s thoughtful approach to seafood. Pick a fish and choose from a variety of delivery mechanisms, from taco, to salad, to rice bowl. Chef/owner Donna Lee has locations at Revival Food Hall and inside Willis Tower, as well as standalone locations in Roscoe Village and River North.
Great Lake Meat Co.
DMK, the company behind Hayden Hall, has debuted Great Lake Meat Co. just for the food hall. It serves sandwiches with smoked meats, hot dogs — both Chicago and Detroit coney style, and more.
Rib tips, a South Side speciality, travel north courtesy of County BBQ, a beloved Taylor Street barbecue that reopened last year after a long closure due to fire. Chef Erick Williams, who’s been connected to DMK at various restaurants, is showcasing his barbecue expertise. Williams is the chef behind Virtue, the Hyde Park restaurants that debuted in 2019 as one of the best new restaurants in the country.
Featuring two salad bar islands and one for hot items, Love Foods is stocked with coolers filled with grab-and-go items, and hot shelves featuring rotisserie chicken. Beverages, sparkling water, canned beer, and wine, are also available here.
Mana Food Bar
Vegans and vegetarians mourned the closure of Mana Food Bar in 2018. The Wicker Park space was sleek and narrow, and at Hayden Hall, ownership actually has more room to play with for a Korean-inspired take on meat-free foods.