TAMPA, Fla. - It's a trend catching fire across the country. Best described as an eclectic mix of restaurants, food halls let you experience a variety of different tastes all under one roof.
Armature Works was once a streetcar warehouse dating back to 1910. But today Armature Works houses 14 different food and drink vendors, which means dining is on display.
"It's not a food court. It's a mixed-use building with a food hall. You're able to experiment, and experimentation with food is really a key driver to a food hall," offered marketing director Lauren Mooser.
A stone’s throw away from Armature Works is The Hall on Franklin, another destination for foodies looking for a fix. Designed to feed a growing demand for fresh ingredients prepared by local chefs, the food hall phenomena is a win for diners and entrepreneurs like Chef Ricardo Castro.
"I think this is going to be the future of restaurants. It's a smaller investment for the chefs and for the owners, in terms of each stall," Castro said.
Chef Castro's restaurant Xilo Street Mexican is part of a six-restaurant mashup featuring high-end food and drinks, at affordable prices.
"What makes The Hall on Franklin unique is it's a full-service food hall. It actually has servers that bring to you complete food and beverages from any of the six stalls that they've got," Castro explained.
And Castro says there are even bigger advantages. "Also the investment, as well, is a lot lower. We're talking at least one third if not less of what you usually have to give into an investment in a normal restaurant."
In fact, more halls seem to be on the horizon for The Hall on Franklin owner Jamal Wilson.
"At this point, he's opening two more locations: One in Miami, one in Orlando, and a third one coming up very close by as well," Castro added.
They’ll all boast a unique dining experience a world away from food courts of the past.