If the recent closure of New Orleans’s Auction House Market gave you hope, or fear, that the food hall trend was losing steam, one Florida-based entrepreneur is betting otherwise. Jamal Wilson is set to open the Hall on Mag, a food hall and event space taking over the former Auction House Market in the Warehouse District.
According to a press release, the Hall on Mag will open this fall at 801 Magazine Street with six vendors, all offering distinct cuisines: South and Common, described as Southern comfort food; Amato Italia, billed as modern Italian fusion; Ja Nai, Japanese street food and sushi; American Culture, “elevated” American cuisine that will include Creole, Asian and soul influences; Itzayana, Mexican street food; and El Greco, Mediterranean seafood spot. At least one of the food stall names, El Greco, is also listed as a vendor for an Orlando location of the Hall; Eater has asked for further details on the vendors, i.e. the operators behind them and if they are local businesses, and will update this story if we hear back. Beyond the six stalls, the central bar that anchored Auction House will remain, and a private event space to be called “the Library” with its own bar is planned.
Professional athlete-turned-entrepreneur Jamal Wilson first opened the Hall on Franklin in Tampa in 2017 with the aim to “revolutionize” the food hall concept by offering two types of service, both standard counter service and full-service/sit-down dining. A few years later Wilson announced plans for a food hall in Atlanta, the Hall on Ashford, which is set to open later this month, and opened the Hall on the Yard in Orlando last year. A second Atlanta location, the Hall at the Grove, is planned for later in 2022. Wilson has previously said he hopes to bring food halls to Miami, Charlotte, the Virginia-D.C. area, and Alabama in the next few years.
When Auction House Market closed in March after four years, the building’s owner and operator, Felicity Property Co., said it “saw a shift in the multi-vendor food hall model” and that the company planned to introduce a new concept and operator to the space. It seems Wilson is that new operator, who said expanding to New Orleans was “an easy decision.” Most food halls offer licenses — rather than leases between stall operators and the landlord — that typically cover rental fees, use of common space and storage, and scullery services and general maintenance. Eater has reached out to the company’s representatives for details around vendor financing and licenses for the Hall on Mag.
The food hall trend in U.S. cities began about a decade ago, and quickly grew into a phenomenon — in 2016 alone, the number of food halls in the U.S. grew by 37 percent. In New Orleans, food halls haven’t necessarily been embraced with the same fervor; St. Roch Market opened in 2015 with 13 vendors but has had trouble maintaining a full roster in the years since; there are currently eight kitchens operating out of the market.
The Hall on Mag is hiring, holding open interviews each Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. at 801 Magazine Street.