The food hall trend has arrived. Here's a quick look at Corso Ventures' entry, which opened in March.
It used to be a simple distinction: The U.S. has food courts and Europe has food halls. While food courts usually provide basic chain offerings in uninspired commercial settings, food halls feature a unique selection of quality quick bites from independent operators.
In much the same way that Old World beer culture influenced the explosion of American craft breweries, food halls are now popping up all over North America. (Maybe the best example is New York City's Chelsea Market.) Though some might argue that the North Market meets the general definition, the unmistakably named Short North Food Hall is the first concept in Central Ohio to explicitly embrace the moniker (while another—Budd Dairy Food Hall—is on the way). Located at 1112 N. High St., the food hall adds to a growing list of Corso Ventures establishments in the Short North that includes Forno Kitchen + Bar, Short North Pint House and Standard Hall.
Short North Food Hall's aesthetic is spare, with blue accents punctuating a predominantly white color scheme atop the finished concrete floors. Its preference for bar-style seating suggests an emphasis on the beverage program, and a deep menu of beers, punch bowls and bottled cocktails reinforces the impression. A long bar equipped with TVs bisects the space, stretching from the entrance almost all the way to the back, where it meets an array of four food stalls: Shokudo Modern Asian Kitchen and Short Grain Sushi (both from the owners of Fukuryu Ramen), Tortilla (offering street-style Mexican) and Legacy Smokehouse (Central Texas barbecue). A smaller side room holds pizza vendor Vinny's Italian, as well as some low-top seating.
Three to Try
The pizza is admirable, but the meatball sub at Vinny's Italian is sublime. A perfectly textured Philly hoagie roll cradles a generous pile of large, tender beef-and-sausage meatballs finished with a drizzle of pesto aioli. A bargain at $10.
The brisket, pulled pork and sausage from Legacy Smokehouse are all worthwhile selections on their own, but they add up to something far larger than the sum of their parts in the Texas Trinity sandwich. It's as straightforward as it sounds and even tastier. Yours for $12.
The pre-bottled cocktail trend finds a good home at Short North Food Hall, and the selection is deep. The Paloma, a tequila and grapefruit cocktail, is a credible adaptation of the original, and the barrel-aged bourbon Manhattan was the bartender's pick. Priced from $10 to $12.