TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Food Halls are the hottest eating concept across the country. What’s a food hall? Think upscale food court where multiple restaurants are under roof. The latest food hall in Tampa is called The Hall on Franklin, and it’s stepping up the food hall game.
“We call ourselves a collective eatery,” said Jamal Wilson, the developer of The Hall on Franklin.
Wilson spent two years flipping houses and was ready to start a new venture when his cousin told him about the food hall trend. He spent six months visiting as many food halls as he could, finding the things he liked and the things he did not.
“When you go to a food hall, you’re like, I wanted to try everything, so I was trying like 10 different concepts. I would have 10 different buzzers, and then it would ring, and I would run up and get it. I don’t want that experience for my guests. No buzzers. Everything works behind the scenes like magic,” explained Wilson. “Anywhere you go, you put your name in the system, and it will pull up your tab and add right to it. You only swipe your card once,” he continued.
This concept of one tab or one bill for all the restaurants is unlike any food hall in the country. Guests have the option of ordering directly from one of the restaurants or sitting at a table and ordering from a comprehensive menu that lists items from all the eateries.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the space from the lounge area to standing around, once you order, we bring the food to you,” said Wilson.
That food can come from the Melt Shop that serves up burgers, milkshakes and grilled sandwiches or Heights Fish Camp with raw and grilled oysters and peel and eat shrimp. North Star restaurant is an Asian street food eatery, and Poke Rose dishes out poke bowls which are a traditional Hawaiian seafood and rice delicacy.
The owner of Poke Rose, Jason Cline, jumped at the opportunity to be part of The Hall On Franklin. “It’s such a cool buzz going on in here. Everybody’s overwhelmed at first, and we explain what you can do and the different ways you can do it, and they’re just blown away,” Cline said with a smile.
The food hall concept allows restaurateurs to start a business with a lot less up-front cost. Wilson explains it can take as much as $200,000-$500,000 to open a new restaurant, but it’s only $20,000-$50,000 to be part of The Hall on Franklin. This concept can serve as an incubator for chefs to launch a brick and mortar store.
Cline, who is the former Executive Chef at The Birchwood in St. Petersburg, explains that Poke Rose is starting here, but he expects it to grow.
“Our plan is 16 stores in five years starting out in the Bay Area and moving out maybe down to Sarasota,” said Cline.
Also available The Hall is Kofe, a coffee shop run by Ty Beddingfield, the program director behind Tampa’s successful Buddy Brew coffee, and you can grab a sweet treat at Bake N’ Babes. Finally, The Collection is a craft bar that serves everyone in The Hall.
It only took Wilson one week to get all these restaurants and eateries to agree to be part of The Hall on Franklin.
“We’re all on the same page. We all want each other to do well,” explained Wilson.
It’s seven menus in an 8000 square foot space that’s warm and inviting with beautiful décor, and it’s creating smiles for all those who cross the threshold.
The Hall on Franklin is located at 1701 North Franklin Street in Tampa. The coffee and bakery shops open at 7:30am Monday-Friday. The rest of the restaurants open for lunch at 11am. The Hall stays open until 11pm Monday-Wednesday and is open until 2am Thursday-Saturday. It closes at 5pm on Sundays.