Texas is riding the food hall wave—and the trend is giving chefs without financial backing the chance to have their own space

Since 2010, there has been a 700 percent increase in the number of food halls operating across the U.S., giving weight to Eater’s argument that the food hall phenomenon has “officially transcended trendiness” and is now a permanent fixture in the dining scene. Food halls—essentially higher end food courts consisting of locally-owned mini-restaurant and artisan vendors—have long been popular in Europe and Asia, but it’s only in the last five years that they’ve spread across the Lone Star StateTexas Monthly reports. Before Covid hit, there were nine food halls planned for Houston alone, and Dallas’ first food hall arrived last month. MasterChef season three winner Christine Ha wanted to open her first restaurant in her hometown of Houston, but quickly realized that even with a cookbook deal and a check for $250,000, she didn’t have the mega-budget needed to open a brick and mortar in one of Texas’ increasingly expensive metro areas. Ha ended up opening her Vietnamese gastropub The Blind Goat inside downtown Houston’s Bravery Chef Hall. The food hall location gave her the confidence, experience, and “investor buzz” needed to open her restaurant Xin Chao in 2020. 

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