From food trucks to high-end restaurants and everything in between, dining has never been more essential to the shopping center experience.
“E-commerce has made it more important for retail centers to enhance the experience,” said Terry Montesi, CEO, Trademark Property Co. And food works great with retail.”
But it’s not just chain restaurants. Increasingly, shopping centers are getting creative when it comes to integrating food into the shopping experience. Trademark’s upcoming Waterside, a mixed-use development in Fort Worth, Texas, will feature several “micro-restaurants” from local entrepreneurs.
The restaurants, averaging from 500 sq. ft. to 1,000 sq. ft., will be clustered around the center’s central common space, a large area that will feature shade trees, public art, outdoor seating and rest rooms. The set-up is such that the micro-restaurants do not have to go through the expense of build restrooms in their spaces, or even adding seating.
“It’s really a new twist on the indoor food court,” Montesi said. “We’re already thinking about doing something similar in a lot of other places.”
City Point: An enormous food hall is likely to be big draw at City Point, a 1.8 million-sq.-ft. mixed-use development under construction in Brooklyn, New York.
Set to open this year, DeKalb Market Hall will be in the basement level of the 675,000-sq.-ft. retail center. It will house about 40 “unique” food vendors, according to Chris Conlon, executive VP and COO for Acadia Realty Trust.
“We are partnering with Anna Castellani, the owner of Foragers Market (an upscale grocery store with two locations in the city), who is curating the collection,” Conlon added.
As Conlon explains it, DeKalb Market Hall will not be orderly. Instead, it will be noisy and filled with sights and sounds, with lots of individual build-outs.
“This is Brooklyn — you have to deliver a level of authenticity,” he added.
But that’s not all — by any means. City Point has also landed an outpost, complete with an outdoor beer garden, of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, an Austin-based movie theatre/restaurant chain.
“Retailing can’t be retail alone,” Conlon said. “It has to have experiential components, and food is one of them.”