The national food hall phenomenon has arrived in Minneapolis-St. Paul with a vengeance, coming in a wide variety of inventive iterations to attract the masses. So what’s a food hall? Think food court, only trendier—and much more Instagram-worthy.
A longtime landmark of St. Paul's West Seventh Street, the former Schmidt Brewery is back in a big way. Vacant since the brewery closed in 2002, the former keg house reopened in 2018 as Keg and Case. The culinary and retail marketplace houses two-dozen local vendors, including all-natural ice cream shop Sweet Science, Clutch Brewing, a cotton candy maker, Five Watt coffeehouse, flower shop and more.
On the other end of West Seventh near the Xcel Energy Center, Seventh Street Truck Park features RVs and other vehicles serving “road foods” and low-brow beverages in paper bags. For a more upscale experience, Market House Collaborative is home to a butcher shop, Salty Tart bakery and cafe, Birch's Lowertown taproom, and Octo Fishbar seafood restaurant across the street from CHS Field in the trendy Lowertown neighborhood.
For a taste of one of St. Paul's most prevalent cultures, the Hmongtown Marketplace features over 100 vendors serving traditional larb, locally grown Asian produce, papaya salad, bubble tea and so much more. In the summer, the food court expands to include outdoor vendors. Hmong Village, on the city's East Side, is a similarly massive Hmong market.
As the home of Midtown Global Market—an incubator for minority business owners selling everything from tamales to camel burgers—Minneapolis is no stranger to food halls. Less than half a mile from Midtown, Mercado Central specializes in tacos, tamales, pupusas and other favorites from Mexico and Latin America.
More recent additions to the Minneapolis food hall scene include The Lynhall, serving baked goods, lunch, dinner, coffee and cocktails in Uptown; and Malcolm Yards Market, slated to open in 2019 and feature a full-service restaurant, central bar and eight to 10 other vendors serving a variety of “gourmet fast food.”
Coming in 2020, The Dayton's Food Hall & Market on downtown's Nicollet Mall is one of the city's most-anticipated openings.