Food — much like fashion — goes through phases and trends — and currently, food’s trend is the ‘food hall.’
The food hall is definitely not a new concept, food and market halls have been around for centuries. For instance, in North America, there are many public markets that have been around for a long time — Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia (1893), St. Lawrence Market in Toronto (1895) and Grand Central Market in Los Angeles (1917) to name a few. Establishments such as these have been hubs to house butchers, cheesemongers, bakers, makers and farmers to sell their goods under one roof, usually downtown, for workers and tourists to have a central location to grab lunch and also groceries to take home. Most big cities had just one food hall for the past century, but in the past five years, they have been growing rapidly with several in each major city and many in smaller cities across the US.
Here in Colorado, this phenomenon is no exception. Every year, the state has been establishing at least one food hall since 2013. Many newer halls and markets are not just your traditional public markets, some are set-up like an outdoor courtyard with the eateries and vendors surrounding. One that recently opened is housed in an old church with an arcade and bookstore inside, another inside an old elementary school. And, of course, you have more traditional style food halls but with modern touches.
Even though more are slated to pop up later this year, we’ve rounded up a list of all the food halls currently in Colorado for you to plot your next food adventure.
Where: 10180 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora
The Lowdown: Mango House is not your average food hall — it’s a shared space for resettled refugees from all areas of the world to sell their cuisine, crafts and services. On East Colfax in Aurora — this is your spot for several different international food options. Here, you can find Syrian, Nepalese, Sudanese, Burmese and Somali food, as well as sushi. This is definitely a group of food stalls that you can’t find anywhere in Colorado, much less most places in the world. Other businesses settled here include health services for refugees, a youth center and places of worship. If you’re looking to try a new cuisine, check out this unique collective eatery.
Where: 2501 Dallas St., Aurora
The Lowdown: Just east on the outskirts of Denver is the city of Aurora — in particular, the northern area of the city — where it’s becoming a destination and attractive place to live, thanks to the Stanley Marketplace. This huge market used to be Stanley Aviation which is right by where the old Denver Airport used to be. Bob Stanley tested his Stanley planes here — now, it’s a shopping and eating destination. It boasts 50 different vendors: restaurants, fitness studios, clothing, a cafe, breweries, a winery, bagels, a chocolatier and more — even co-working spaces on the upper level. It’s like an upscale, small mall. Enjoy a beer at Cheluna Brewing Co. or grab a coffee at Logan House and browse the awesome shops like Velvet Wolf and Zero Market.
Castle Rock and Colorado Springs
Where: 1604 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs
The Lowdown: The second most populous city in the state, Colorado Springs has its own food hall — Ivywild School which opened in 2013. Just outside of downtown, this old elementary school is now a happening spot with a brewery/pub and marketplace. The market includes a restaurant, a cafe, a whiskey house and an artisan craft shop. It also has a program called Ivywild Music showcasing local artists with shows held in what used to be the school’s gymnasium. Grab a coffee at the Principal’s Office or an old fashioned at Axe & the Oak, and perhaps a meal at the Ivywild Kitchen. This is definitely a fun way to begin or end a day in Colorado Springs.
Where: 2727 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs
The Lowdown: Colorado Springs has not only one, but two food halls — and both are housed in old elementary schools. Lincoln Center, formerly Lincoln Elementary, is home to many vendors making it a mix of food and several different types of businesses. The food options include Cafe Red Point, Nightingale Bread and a Scandinavian restaurant called Smorbrod. For beverages, Building 3 Coffee Roasters and Goat Patch Brewing Co. Other vendors range from CrossFit to pilates to a barbershop. Here, you can eat, drink, sweat it out and more.
Where: 221 Perry St., Castle Rock
The Lowdown: The most recent food hall to open is Ecclesia Market in Castle Rock — and it’s one of the most unique yet. Housed in an old church downtown, it has added a new dimension of life to the city. The market consists of a bar called Sinners & Saints (to go with the church theme), a bookstore, arcade, a specialty foods market and several food vendors. Currently, there are two food stalls: Romo’s Street Tacos and Lante Bräu-Casa serving German food. Two more food options are slated to open soon, as well as a little record shop. It also has two patios boasting lovely views of the town and its namesake Castle Rock.
Fort Collins and Boulder
Where: 2775 Valmont Rd., Boulder
The Lowdown: Rayback Collective in Boulder is not necessarily a food hall — but a food truck hall. It is an indoor-outdoor concept with an indoor bar/event space and an outdoor courtyard full of food trucks. There is always at least three rotating food trucks on any given day or night. The courtyard features cornhole, picnic tables and amazing views of the mountains. The inside is comfortable as well and often hosts fitness and outdoor classes as well as live music. It is a great place to be social and have dinner and a beer under the string lights, sitting by the fire pit and watching the sunset.
Where: 200 N. College Ave., Fort Collins
The Lowdown: Settled in old town Fort Collins — the new Exchange plaza has made the area more lively. The courtyard plaza is surrounded by 13 vendors ranging from food to mini-golf to fitness studios. All of the businesses are housed in shipping container cars making for an interesting aesthetic. The food options include a walk-up donut window, pizza, ice cream, tacos and chicken in waffle cones. Not to mention there are several drink options at Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery, Crooked Stave Brewery and Copper Muse distillery. It’s a lovely spot to enjoy lunch or dinner in the courtyard while venturing through Fort Collins.
Jessup Farm Artisan Village
Where: 1957 Jessup Dr., Fort Collins
The Lowdown: A food hall doesn’t have to be indoors, it can be a village with a courtyard and the shops surrounding it — for example, Jessup Farm in Fort Collins. Just 10 minutes from downtown, it has a country feel which makes for a relaxing time. It even has horses and sheep in a stable to entertain the kids (and adults). Food and drink options include Bindle Coffee, a barrel-aged brewery, the Farm House restaurant and Cacciatore at Heller’s Kitchen. In addition, there are artisan shops and services such as Lucky 27’s barbershop, Peloton’s bicycles, Clayton Jenkins photography and two home goods shops. Eat, drink, shop and enjoy the outdoors.
Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market
Where: 378 Walnut St., Fort Collins
The Lowdown: The Emporium is essentially a small scale food hall consisting of a restaurant, a market and a cafe. Nestled in the heart of old town Fort Collins — it is a must-see when roaming through town. That being said, it is a very aesthetically pleasing space with high ceilings, lots of windows and refined modern decor. The first component is the wine market which sells fine wines and offers tastings as well as cooking classes. Then, Bowerbird Coffee serves not just coffee and lattes, but ice cream, affogatos and a cold brew float. Lastly, the Kitchen restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring luxurious dishes like orecchiette and braised lamb pasta ($22).
The Source Hotel + Market Hall
Where: 3330 Brighton Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: The Source is one of the first food halls to open in Colorado and just recently expanded last year to have a hotel, market hall and rooftop bar. It is a hallmark establishment to the hip industrial neighborhood of RiNo, set in a huge building with amazing views of the Rockies. The market hall vendors include three restaurants, a cafe, a bakery, a florist, a gallery — you name it. After checking out the market hall, you must venture to the rooftop where you’ll find another restaurant and brewery. On the roof, you will find a New Belgium beer garden, indoor and outdoor seating and food served from early morning to late night. The hotel is extremely luxurious — complete with pools and room service.
Denver Milk Market
Where: 1800 Wazee St., Suite 100, Denver
The Lowdown: Just one block from Union Station — the new age food hall, Denver Milk Market has taken the concept to a whole new level. It feels like one big happening restaurant with its bar and ample seating at the entrance, but it’s really a beautiful maze of a plethora of food options and watering holes. It has several retail food vendors like Ruth’s Butchery for take-home meats and Mano Pastaria for handmade pasta — but it’s mostly a place to enjoy a great meal and a drink. Food options include poke bowls, hot chicken, pizza, ice cream, salads, crepes and more. It’s unique because it backs up to the Dairy Block which has other businesses lined up in an alley and is also in the same building as a hotel, Huckleberry Roasters, Kachina Cantina and a fun bar called Poka Lola.
Denver Union Station
Where: 1701 Wynkoop St., Denver
The Lowdown: Denver’s Union Station was first established in 1881 as the city’s main train station with the current structure being built in 1914. It was revamped in 2012 and re-opened in 2014 to become a market hall in addition to being a train station. It is home to 11 restaurants and bars — a bookstore, home decor shop and the Crawford Hotel. Notable eateries include a popular brunch spot, Snooze an A.M. Eatery and Mercantile Dining & Provisions. Right in the heart of downtown — it is a must-see on an adventure through Denver. It has a beautiful bright interior with high ceilings, several patios outside with views of the city and a section of big pop-up water fountains outside for kids to play in. A great time to go is on Saturdays from May through October for the Union Station Farmer’s Market — set upfront with over 35 vendors.
Denver Central Market
Where: 2669 Larimer St., Denver
The Lowdown: If you could only go to one food hall in Colorado, this might be it. The Denver Central Market in the heart of Denver’s RiNo neighborhood is a welcoming place in a beautiful building making it a total destination. It’s not one of those places that also have retail and a brewery or some other quirk, it’s just food and drinks in a big open one-floor concept. The market includes Crema Bodega (coffee), a butcher, fresh seafood, pizza, salads, sandwiches, ice cream, a bakery, a bar and more. This is a great place to visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner with communal seating — and there’s something for everyone.
Where: 3501 Wazee St., Denver
The Lowdown: The third food hall to open in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood — Zeppelin Station is the quintessential modern industrial food hall. Held in a ‘zeppelin’ of a building, it’s a little off the beaten path by the light rail station and full of delicious food. It has seven food vendors, coffee and two bars. In addition to the sustenance, it has two retail stalls and a salon. One of the coolest aspects of this place is its rotating culinary series which focuses on the cuisine of a particular city — like Reykjavik and Mexico City. The series also incorporates one of the retail stalls to showcase goods and clothing made in the current featured city. Events are held pretty frequently, too, for instance, Bernie Sanders recently held a rally here.
Avanti Food & Beverage
Where: 3200 N. Pecos St., Denver
The Lowdown: When in Denver or showing around an out of town guest, Avanti F&B is a top choice. It is a collective eatery of food stalls on two levels with two bars. It also has an amazing rooftop patio with a big shaded part and a jutting area full of sunshine and views of the whole city. It’s a truly unique place with seven different food options ranging from poke bowls to fried chicken sandwiches to Colombian arepas. This is one of the best places to enjoy a drink and some grub while gazing at the Denver skyline.
Where: 950 Broadway, Denver
The Lowdown: Broadway Market is the newest food hall to be welcomed in Denver. In the bustling Golden Triangle neighborhood on the heart of Broadway, this has added a bright, new, beautiful hub of food and drink options to the area. It has the layout of a food court in a mall, but it’s much prettier, modern — and offers way better food and more comfortable seating. The centerpieces of the market are the Broadway Bar and Logan House Coffee Co. for your beverage options. There are also self-serve beer taps on the wall called the ‘Bottoms-Up beer wall’ by Pour My Beer and it’s the first of its kind in North America. As for food, you can find everything from sushi to Maria Empanada, Biju’s Little Curry Shop, fresh-pressed juice and much more. It also has two small boutiques, so you can do a little shopping, too.