Sightlines — Revival in Chicago Showcases the Contemporary Food Hall Trend

Michael Kiser

THE GIST
The newest venture in the 16 On Center group's portfolio of hospitality concepts, Revival brings the latest trend in adult-oriented food halls to Chicago's Loop. Its 25,000 square feet is devoted to a variety of food and beverage vendors representing Chicago's wide range of culinary leaders scaled to meet the size and service concept of the upscale cafeteria-like setting. 

WHY IT MATTERS
In our recent travels, especially in the South Atlantic, we've encountered a number of contemporary assemblies devoted to the open atmosphere of the food hall—notably Ponce City Market and Krog St. Market in Atlanta. Both venues create a destination with variety amongst its vendors, including restaurants, bars, candy, ice cream, cocktails, and craft coffee. 

As stand-alone operations get riskier in crowded marketplaces, both restaurants and breweries are finding a competitive advantage in sharing overhead, while offering a wider variety as a food and beverage destination. And from the behaviors we've seen first-hand, many customers enter those hall doors, and have no inclination of leaving, especially during the hot summer months.

"We have a line all the way down the hall for Jeni's all day and night, it's crazy," a waiter at Krog St.'s Ticonderoga Club told me, referring to the ice cream brand's popular stall just outside TC's front door.

In Chicago's Loop, where fast casual chains dominate, Revival will likely be a welcome diversification with a local voice. And beer is finding a home here, too. According to manager Will Duncan, who also oversees the group's other venues like Promontory, Dusek's, and Thalia Hall (GBH's venue partner on the Uppers & Downers coffee beer festival), "Revival Cafe Bar (inside revival food hall) gives equal attention to coffee and cocktails, allowing these tandem beverage efforts to influence and inspire each other. This focus will extend to the beer list with a small selection of coffee beers on offer at all times—in addition to a variety of essential styles. A collaboration between the Revival team, Hopewell Brewing Company, and La Colombe Coffee has yielded Cafe Saison, a golden-colored easy-drinking Coffee Saison that features Ethiopian Yirgz coffee. This custom draft beer will be available year round at Revival Cafe Bar." 

All the things! Keep it coming. 

—Micheal Kiser