As consumers flock to the accessible, higher-quality offerings that fast-casual eateries routinely tout, they’re finding their mecca in food halls—conglomerates of chef-driven food stalls, all under one roof. Mario Batali-backed Eataly, with outposts in Chicago and New York City, is among the best known of these modern models; now the trend is catching fire elsewhere with recent openings in Denver, New Orleans and Portland, Ore. Atlanta’s newest entrant is the much-anticipated Ponce City Market, an internationally inspired restaurant-retail hybrid showcasing well-known and emerging culinary talent.
All about the hall
Location: Inside the landmark Sears, Roebuck & Co. building in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward area.
Footprint: 320,000 square feet of restaurants and retail.
No. of food concepts: 13 eateries—a mix of counter and full-service—currently are open in the Central Food Hall at PCM, with six more planned by the end of the year.
Check average: Varies.
Ponce City Market, like many of its peers, operates in a converted historic building, once home to Sears, Roebuck & Co.’s warehouse and showrooms. Inspired by NYC’s iconic Chelsea Market (from the same owners), the shops and Central Food Hall occupy the ground floor, with offices and apartments on the upper levels. Spaces showcase the 1926 architecture, including original hardwood floors, windows and columns, around which custom seating is built.
The food hall brings together concepts from local and national operators and purveyors. Coffee shops (including one from star chef Hugh Acheson) and a cold-press juice bar abut food stalls from chefs such as Atlanta’s Linton Hopkins, who’s peddling burgers and fried-chicken-and-biscuit sandwiches. Brezza Cucina from NYC celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman, an Italian sit-down spot with more than 150 seats, connects to the adjacent Williams-Sonoma store.