AUSTIN, TX — Austin foodies will have another reason to celebrate the new year come January: Officials of the city’s first food hall, Fareground at One Eleven, have announced an opening date for early 2018.
For the food philistines among us unfamiliar to the concept of food halls: Essentially, these are shared spaces where restaurateurs gather to indulge in culinary offerings prepared right before their eyes. This is high-class concept, a more refined and sophisticated cousin to the much-maligned food court. That comparison will make food hall mavens and creators alike cringe, but we’re just trying to explain the concept. Sorry.
But back to Fareground. Developers have set a Jan. 18 opening date for the highly anticipated spot to be located at 111 Congress Ave. The hall is curated and managed by ELM Restaurant Group, the restaurant group behind 24 Diner, Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden, Italic and Irene’s. Six operators, billed as “…representing the city’s top culinary talent and a wide range of cuisines,” are participating: Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Contigo, Dai Due, Easy Tiger, Emmer & Rye and Komé/Daruma Ramen.
A little more than a month before its official opening, the spot’s already been named by Money Inc. as one of the seven most anticipated food halls in the world, Fareground officials noted on their website. Housed within Cousins Properties’ urban plaza at 111 Congress Avenue, the food hall was designed by the award-winning Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, according to information found on the developer’s website.
“It’s so exciting to be a part of a global dining movement and have the opportunity to showcase some of Austin’s best-loved chefs & restaurateurs,” Bob Gillett, one of ELM’s founders, said in a prepared statement. “I’m blown away by the passion, vision and camaraderie that went into this project, and can’t wait for opening day!”
Officials described the various vendors soon to offer their culinary delights (text verbatim from site):
Antonelli’s Cheese Shop: Named one of the top cheese shops in America by Travel & Leisure, Antonelli’s Cheese will offer a curated selection of cut-to-order cheese, charcuterie and artisanal pairings currently available at their popular Hyde Park storefront. Owners John and Kendall Antonelli will also incorporate their favorite cheeses in a variety of hot and cold items, including themed cheese plates, cheese & mac bowls, grilled cheese selections, tomato soup, salads, gourmet sandwiches and seasonal specialties. Nearby downtown businesses take note: They’ll also be offering cheese trays and catering options. And yes, there will be complimentary cheese tasting on site!Contigo Fareground: Contigo’s chef Andrew Wiseheart (three-time nominee for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef: Southwest) and co-owner Ben Edgerton will bring their casual interpretation of Texas cuisine and strong Southern hospitality to Fareground. Fans of the laidback eastside shop will be thrilled to see favorites such as the Contigo burger and crispy green beans on the menu. Exclusive to the downtown shop is locally sourced, natural chicken cooked on a rotisserie – perfect for dining in or an easy grab & go meal when paired with their housemade sauces and a wide selection of hearty salads and sides.Dai Due Taquería: Hyperlocal Dai Due – headed by chef Jesse Griffiths (a James Beard Award finalist) and co-owner Tamara Mayfield – has evolved over the last decade from on-farm supper clubs to the farmers’ markets to a brick-and-mortar restaurant & butcher shop. The team partnered with chef Gabe Erales for new concept Dai Due Taquería, which will feature tacos, tortas and molletes filled with Texas game (including wild boar al pastor, bison picadillo and venison barbacoa), Gulf seafood and innovative veggie combos (such as beet longaniza). Tortillas and masa will be made in house with Mexican heirloom corn milled on site. Don’t miss the authentic salsas and agua frescas made with locally sourced fruits and vegetables.Easy Tiger: Easy Tiger – named one of America’s Best Beer Gardens by Food & Wine – pairs house-cured meats and sausages made by Andrew Curren (two-time nominee for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef) with artisanal breads baked by head doughpuncher David Norman. Start your day with an espresso and pastry (including pain au chocolat, spiced Tiger Claw or cinnamon knot), tuck into a pastrami or corned beef on rye for lunch, snack on a German-style pretzel & addictive beer cheese over Happy Hour or indulge in a classic bratwurst in a pretzel bun for dinner. Be sure to pick up a loaf of freshly baked bread to take home.Henbit: The team behind Emmer & Rye (crowned one of America’s Best New Restaurants by Bon Appétit) will launch Henbit at Fareground. At this new concept, chefs Kevin Fink (Food & Wine Best New Chef 2016), Tavel Bristol-Joseph and Page Pressley will continue their commitment to local sourcing, seasonality and working closely with farmers. Menus will span all dayparts and include healthy, approachable items. For breakfast, try the red fife kolaches with chorizo, cheese & local chiles or white Sonora wheat breakfast burritos. Later in the day, nosh on redtail shrimp poke with crispy rice salad or avocado & spaghetti squash salad with burnt pecan dressing. Partner Rand Egbert will lead the beverage program with offerings such as superfood lattes (try the matcha with lavender syrup or spiced golden milk) and Cascara and Yaupon teas.Ni-Komé: Husband & wife chef/owners Takehiro & Kayo Asazu melded elements of Komé Sushi Kitchen (named one of the Best New Sushi Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit) and sister shop Daruma Ramen (downtown’s first ramen shop) to create new concept Ni-Komé. The sushi bar will feature combination sushi lunches (nigiri selection plus a roll) and Komé’s signature rolls, such as the spooky roll (spicy tuna, avocado, salmon and go-go sauce). The ramen menu will include Daruma’s famous Marudori (whole chicken broth) and vegan options.
In addition to food offerings, the Fareground also includes two bars that will be overseen by ELM’s Beverage Director, Master Sommelier Craig Collins, officials said. “Within the food hall proper, the counter-service bar will offer 24 draft beers, wine and sake, as well as house-made draft cocktails specifically created to complement the diverse vendor offerings. The street-level exterior bar will open later in the spring and offer beer, wine and cocktails.”
The Fareground will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 pm Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. Contigo, Dai Due Taquería, Easy Tiger and Henbit will open with breakfast service; Antonelli’s Cheese and Ni-Komé will open at lunchtime. Check out its Instagram: @faregroundatx.
>>> Image via Fareground