Houston will finally embrace the nationwide food hall trend in 2018, courtesy of the three new properties that are set to open downtown this year. While many factors will contribute to the success or failure — parking, price, service, atmosphere, etc — the most important will be lining up high-quality vendors to lure diners.
Score one for Finn Hall, the 20,000-square-foot food hall coming later this year to the Jones on Main at the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Building at 712 Main St. On Wednesday, March 14, the operators announced they’ve signed four new tenants that are affiliated with popular Houston restaurants: Goode Co. Taqueria, Low Tide (Harold’s in the Heights), Mr. Nice Pie (Love Buzz), and Dish Society. They’re joining acclaimed Chinese restaurant Mala Sichuan, which had been announced as the food hall’s first tenant. In total, Finn Hall will have 10 food outlets, a beer and wine bar, a cocktail lounge, and private event space.
“We’re pleased to welcome this group of household Houston names to Finn Hall,” said Greg Andrews of the Finn Hall management team, in a statement. “Our goal is to create the best possible dining experience that highlights the best of Houston’s cuisine under one roof.”
As its name implies, Goode Co. Taqueria will serve a taco-centric version of its classic Tex-Mex cuisine for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Potential dishes include crispy taquitos stuffed with smoked chicken and Mexican white cheese, pork and green chili empanadas, and seasonal aguas frescas. The restaurant also intends to have a bulk menu available for delivery to downtown offices.
“I’m personally a fan of food halls,” said Levi Goode, president and CEO of Goode Company Restaurants, in a statement. “Over the last few years, I’ve watched the food hall trend develop and watched how people interact with the whole food hall scene. We’re excited to introduce our food to a new generation in this environment.”
Low Tide is described as a seafood and raw bar concept that extends Harold’s reputation for creating dishes using high quality, local ingredients. Chef Richard Knight and owner Alli Jarrett will collaborate on the menu, which will include ceviche, raw oysters, and po-boys.
“I was attracted to downtown’s growth, the location of Finn Hall, right off the rail line and close to hotels, and the history of the JPMorgan Chase building,” added Jarrett. “We saw an appeal of
joining other restaurants that are from a variety of backgrounds and offer a variety of different menus. Low Tide is an opportunity to create a new brand for us.”
Dish Society will serve a condensed version of its farm-to-table cuisine. Owner Aaron Lyons sees the food hall as an opportunity to reach both existing customers who work downtown and new ones who haven’t tried the company’s three existing locations.
“We’re kind of treating this almost like a food truck concept,” Lyons said. “We may test new products and dishes here eventually. We’re all about being approachable and offering quick service, but we will have to kick it up a notch with this concept.”
Finally, Mr. Nice Pie is a pizza concept from the owners of Moon Tower Inn, Voodoo Queen, and Love Buzz that will serve pizza-by-the-slice. Expect to see favorites from the Love Buzz menu like the Morning Wood (bacon, crispy hashbrowns, egg), the Fast Hamburghini (double bacon cheeseburger with pickles, onions, and a mustard swirl), and the White Widow (olive oil, herbed ricotta, roasted garlic and black pepper). Owner Brandon Young cited the location’s proximity to the downtown tunnel system as one reason he signed on to the project.