Food halls coming to D.C. in big ways

D.C.-area food halls to be big part of dining scene

After the huge success of D.C.’s Union Market, many other new “food halls” are sprouting up to offer consumers unique tastes and cultivated, culinary experiences in buzzing locations around the area. According to consultancy and research firm Cushman & Wakefield, there will be approximately 300 food hall projects in operation by the end of 2020.

Read on to learn more about the newest arrivals to this fascinating new scene.

Food Halls in the DMV

Ballston Quarter | Arlington, Va.

Bringing 25,000 square feet of pure foodie bliss, retail, and entertainment to the thriving Ballston area, Quarter Market is destined to become a fixture of the Virginia landscape when it opens. The Quarter Market development will house 18 restaurants, all centered around a vibrant 5,000 square foot outdoor plaza. Liz Sternby, spokeswoman for developer Forest City , explained that Ballston was targeted for this development due to its close proximity to the D.C. metro area, its excellent walkability score (94, according to the Ballston Quarter website), and the fact that there is already an outdoor market space surrounding the existing Ballston Common Mall.

In May, Forest City announced additional eateries arriving in 2018, which were reported by WTOP—some will be located in the Quarter Market, and others in surrounding retail and office space:

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  • D.C.-based burger chain All About Burger will open its fifth area location
  • Baltimore-based The Local Oyster will be part of Quarter Market
  • Pop-up sandwich shop French Exit arrives at Quarter Market
  • South American restaurant Maizal opens its first location in Virginia
  • Fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant Mezeh, will add to its eight locations in Virginia and Maryland
  • Casual seafood restaurant Slapfish’s Quarter Market location will be its second after an expected June opening in Rockville
  • Sloppy Mama’s BBQ, will follow a Union Market location with a second one here in Quarter Market
  • Union Kitchen Grocery will also open in the residential tower, making it the fourth D.C.-area store
  • Ted’s Bulletin will open its seventh D.C.-area location in the mall space
  • Micro juicery South Block opens its 10th D.C.-area location in the residential tower
  • Chick-Fil-A returns to Ballston in a mall location
  • D.C.-based Compass Coffee will open its eighth area location on the ground floor of the residential tower
  • A major access point to Ballston Quarter (photo via Clark Construction)
Ballston Quarter Market is a new food hall opening in Arlington, VA
Ballston Quarter to become a central shopping, dining hub in Arlington, Va. Photo by Clark Construction.

According to Eater DC’s feature at the end of last year, these were the restaurants announced in 2017:

  • Bartaco: full-scale Mexican restaurant
  • Buredo: sushi rolls
  • Cucina Al Volo: Italian D.C. chain serving authentic pizzas and pastas
  • Ice Cream Jubilee: ice cream shop serving unique flavors like passionfruit guava and Thai iced tea
  • Mi & Yu Noodle Bar: Baltimore-based ramen bowls
  • Pinch Dumplings: another Baltimore fixture serving organic Chinese dumplings
  • Rice Crook: new Korean rice bowl eatery
  • Swizzler: gourmet hot dog company’s first brick-and-mortar shop
  • Timber Pizza Company: Neapolitan-style pizza stand and empanada bakery Quarter Market, part of Forest City’s larger mixed-use Ballston Quarter development, is slated to open in September of this year
  • Sushi-roll chan Buredo on 14th Street in D.C. Another location is coming to Ballston Quarter Market (photo via Buredo).

Isabella Eatery | Tysons, Va.

Graffiato is part of Isabella Eatery as Food Halls come to DC in big ways
Graffiato is a Mike Isabella concept that is part of Isabella Eatery. Photo by Mike Isabella Concepts.

The latest brainchild of famed D.C. chef, Mike Isabella, fully opened in January with an eye-popping collection of eateries. Comprising 41,000 square feet, 615 seats, and nine different restaurants in the hugely popular Tysons Galleria, Isabella Eatery showcases the restaurateur’s full portfolio with adaptations of existing restaurants, as well as first-time ventures. Here’s everything you can find packed into the new establishment:

  1. Graffiato: full-service version of the Penn Quarter eatery serving savory Italian treats
  2. Retro Creamery: ice cream shop serving luxe twists on classic cold treats, such as alcohol-infused sorbet and maple-bacon ice cream
  3. Nonfiction Coffee: coffee shop and bar serving all the classics you would expect at both
  4. Kapnos Marketa: fast-casual Greek comfort food
  5. Arroz: full-service tapas restaurant
  6. Octagon Bar: cocktail bar serving up classic drinks
  7. Requin Champagne and Raw Bar: the third “Requin” installment to hit the area, styled as a luxury European seafood bar
  8. Pepita: taqueria with an assortment of authentic tequilas and beers
  9. Yona: classic Asian eatery serving poke bowls, dumplings, and sushi

In addition to spectacular eats, Isabella Eatery will also impress the eyes. Abby Steinbock, PR representative for Mike Isabella Concepts (MIC), shared that visitors will be treated to “soaring ceilings, hand-painted murals from local artist, Cory Bernart, a living wall of greenery in Nonfiction Coffee, and a custom, 25-foot wide, 5,000-pound tower of illuminated rings in Graffiato.” Fully integrated with its surrounding space, visitors can access interior shops within the Galleria after eating their fill.

Latin Marketplace | NoMa, D.C.

Another high-profile chef is getting behind the food hall trend. Latin cuisine connoisseur, Jose Garces, has joined forces with the mega real estate developer behind Union Market, EDENS, to bring a 20,000 square foot latin-themed food hall to the already blossoming Union Market area. Although the establishment has not yet been named, residents can expect everything from tapas and empanadas to ceviche, courtesy of Garces’ Ecuadorian roots. Washington Business Journal detailed Garces’ plans for the space to include “prepared foods, a full-service restaurant and possibly a separate bar and a range of Latin products, all with seating throughout.”

The development will be a part of the larger ongoing collaboration by EDENS and other local developers to transform the NoMa neighborhood into a mix of retail and residential offerings in mixed-use spaces. Groundbreaking on the project took place in June 2016 and a release is scheduled for fall of this year.

Author credit: Roshan Thomas

Photo credit: Clark Construction (featured)

About the publisher.

This article has been updated from the original version. It now reflects new Ballston Quarter restaurant openings announced after the original publication date of the article.

Eatery Pulse Team

The team at Eatery Pulse includes writers and editors with restaurant industry expertise and know-how. Count on Eatery Pulse to provide restaurant news using original-source industry articles, executive interviews, news briefs and featured pieces & videos that inform and inspire restaurant lea