The food court has been a fixture at shopping malls for years, offering a quick meal from a fast food chain or a soft pretzel or cookie washed down with an Orange Julius.
But in many parts of the country – including Atlanta – the idea is evolving into a trendier, more upscale destination known as a food hall.
The modern food hall, according to the Los Angeles Times, is "more likely to serve a grass-fed beef burger on a brioche bun than a hot dog on a stick." Inspired by food halls in Europe, they house local food vendors and artisans and are meant to be a community gathering space and destination. Shops can also be included in this type of development.
Atlanta has joined the food hall trend in a big way, with several very popular ones – such as Ponce City and Krog Street markets – open with more in the works throughout the metro area.
Check out these six fabulous food halls you'll fall for in Atlanta:
Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta.
Located on the Beltline, Ponce City Market has quickly become a popular Atlanta destination for locals as well as out-of-town visitors and has even been named one of the best food halls in America by Vogue magazine. Eateries including Honeysuckle Gelato, Simply Seoul Kitchen and 18.21 Bitters received special shoutouts from the magazine as places to visit in the market.
The Canteen in Midtown, Fifth Street at Tech Square, Atlanta.
The Canteen in Midtown is billed as a micro food hall, so it has a tidy layout rather than a sprawling one. The food hall is the latest project from chef Todd Ginsberg and the team that's behind The General Muir as well as Fred's Meat & Bread and Yalla at Krog Street. These restaurants have also joined The Canteen, along with TGM Bagel, a mini-deli where you can build your own bagel.
Marietta Square Market, inside Marietta Station, 68 N. Marietta Parkway NW, Marietta.
A group of developers is planning to model Marietta Square Market after the popular Krog Street and Ponce City markets in Atlanta, bringing eateries and vendors together in downtown Marietta. The food hall is expected to span 18,000 square feet and have the look and feel of an old train depot, according to a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution story.
Peachtree Corners' Town Center, 5200 block of Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Corners.
Expected complete construction in 2018, Peachtree Corners' Town Center will feature 12 restaurants as well as other businesses such as Tipsy Salonbar, which serves mimosas and other drinks to customers getting haircuts, manicures and other services. Restaurant tenants will include Jim 'N' Nick's Bar-B-Q, Farm Burger, Marlow's Tavern and Willy's Mexicana Grill. A movie theater, Cinebistro, will also serve food.
The Daily, 11556 Rainwater Drive, Alpharetta.
Alpharetta will join the ranks of metro Atlanta cities embracing the food hall concept with The Daily. It's located near North Point Mall at a site previously occupied by The Varsity and will combine indoor space with a garden courtyard. King of Pops Bar and Biscuit Love are two of the first announced tenants, and customers will also be able to enjoy music and games in the outdoor area. The Daily is scheduled to open in May 2018.
Main & Main, Colony Square at Midtown, Atlanta.
Main & Main is expected to have 12 to 15 purveyors in 22,000 square feet of indoor space at Colony Square. A central bar with indoor/outdoor seating will serve as an anchor for the food hall, and developers are looking for restaurant concepts such as Indian street food, oyster bar and salad/grain bowls to create a unique fast-casual food hall. Work is scheduled to start this fall and be completed in the fall of 2019.