Three food truck veterans and a veteran chef are getting their first shot at brick and mortar spaces thanks to one of downtown's new food halls.
Finn Hall announced May 2 that it has signed its final four tenants for the 10 vendors that will occupy the 20,000-square-foot food hall coming later this summer to the Jones on Main at the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Building downtown. They are Craft Burger, Sit Lo, Oddball Eats, and Yong. They're joining a roster that already includes sister concepts from established restaurants Amaya Coffee (Catalina Coffee), Mala Sichuan, Goode Co. Taqueria, Low Tide (Harold’s in the Heights), Mr. Nice Pie (Love Buzz), and Dish Society.
“We want to be a food hall that houses established Houston concepts but also a place that can foster the growth of the next generation of culinary talent in the city,” said Greg Andrews of the Finn Hall management team in a statement. “We’re thrilled for Finn Hall to be the location where these concepts can develop and come to life.”
Of the four, Craft Burger is probably the best known, thanks to its owner, chef Shannen Tune, whose resume includes time as the executive chef at the Hotel Derek and a victory on Chopped. At Finn Hall, Craft Burger will serve the truck's full menu, which includes creative burgers, a fried chicken sandwich, and milkshakes.
Oddball Eats is falafel-centric Mediterranean food truck that's a frequent presence at the Urban Harvest farmers market. Going brick and mortar will allow Oddball's brother and sister owners Rene and Rani Francis to expand their menu with vegetable sides like pomegranate sweet potatoes and brunch items like shakshuka, the Middle Eastern dish of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce.
Former Cottonwood/La Grange chef Daniel Ajtai will serve Korean food at Yong. Inspired by his mother's recipes, Ajtai will serve Korean barbecue bowls, Korean fried chicken, and "Mom's Eggrolls," which are filled with 12 ingredients.
“I want to modernize and simplify Korean cuisine for Houstonians and Finn Hall visitors,” said Ajtai in a statement. “A lot of Korean restaurants are outdated, stuffy and unapproachable, so I want to make Korean food for the modern day palate.”
Last but not least, Sit Lo, a new concept from the team behind the Bowl'D Up food truck, will serve Southern Vietnamese food. Expect the familiar pho, banh mi, and vermicelli bowls as well as regional dishes.
With construction yet to begin at Bravery Chef Hall and no word from the operators of Lyric Market since its initial announcement in January, it appears as though Finn Hall will be the first of downtown's three new food halls to open. With a mix of familiar concepts from established operators and new options from talented up-and-comers, expect it to attract plenty of attention when it opens later this year.