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Details emerge about Rice Village's long-rumored chef-driven food hall

Details emerge about Rice Village's long-rumored chef-driven food hall

Rice Village aerial view
A new food hall is coming to Rice Village.  Rice Village District/Facebook

Details are starting to emerge about the long-rumored food hall that's coming to Rice Village.

Slated to open this fall, Politan Row will feature 12 vendors, developer Will Donaldson tells Forbes. Having a name, which takes its inspiration from "metropolitan" and "restaurant row," gives some reality to the project. 

Donaldson is the operator of acclaimed New Orleans food hall St. Roch Market and its sister market in Miami. A lawsuit by the City of New Orleans over the St. Roch name prompted the rebranding to Politan Row for the expansions that are coming to Chicago in March and Houston this fall. 

Politan Row's website describes the venue as "a chef-driven food hall platform" that allows "the culinarily curious to explore a variety of new cuisines." Upscale design and good service help differentiate Politan Row from other food halls, according to the company.  

The remaining details have yet to be revealed, including where exactly in Rice Village the food hall will be located. (Representatives from Rice Village have yet to respond to CultureMap's request for comment.) A site plan from operator Trademark Property suggests that a space at the corner of Kelvin and Times has been reserved for "F&B." The food hall could be that food and beverage concept, but prior renderings for the "Rice Village Market" suggest it could occupy the former Bombay Brasserie and Kubo's spaces on the second floor.

Similarly, who the vendors will be and what kind of food they're planning to serve remains a mystery, but it will need to attract some compelling talent to stand out in Rice Village. The past few years have seen Rice Village emerge as a top culinary destination. With the openings of burger joints Hopdoddy and Shake Shack and the imminent arrival of wine bar Sixty Vines, elevated sandwich shop Mendocino Farms, and eclectic salad concept Sweetgreen, the area has become home to top restaurant brands from out of state.   

Politan Market is only the latest sign that Houston is catching up to the national food hall trend. In the coming year or so, the city is expected to add five more to the two, Finn Hall and Conservatory, that already exist; the others on the horizon are Bravery Chef Hall, Lyric Market, Railway Heights, and Understory