Little Italy Food Hall named to nation's Top 10 list for new food halls

Six months after its debut, the Little Italy Food Hall has been named to USA Today’s “10Best Readers’ Choice” poll for America’s best new food halls of 2019.

The $2.3 million project, which features seven restaurant, bar and food cart spaces, was one of just two California food halls named to the top 10 list.

The list includes:

  1. Keg and Case West 7th Market - St. Paul, Minn.
  2. Legacy Food Hall - Plano, Texas
  3. Morgan Street Food Hall & Market - Raleigh, N.C.
  4. Finn Hall - Houston, Texas
  5. La Centrale - Miami, Fla.
  6. Riverside Food Lab - Riverside, Calif.
  7. Little Italy Food Hall - San Diego
  8. Auction House Market - New Orleans, La.
  9. Revolutsia - Wichita, Kan.
  10. Pythian Market - New Orleans, La.

Little Italy Food Hall founders were excited to learn about the award.

“The Little Italy Food Hall was a project of passion and commitment. It is exciting to be recognized amongst the best projects in the country. We will continue to work hard to serve the Little Italy community and share our passion with our guests,” said Mike DiNorscia, CEO of Grain & Grit Collective.

The Little Italy Food Hall, which opened July 12, includes Ambrogio15, Mein St. Asian Kitchen, Not Not Tacos by Sam the Cooking Guy, Roast Meat & Sandwich Shop, Single Fin Kitchen and Wicked Maine Lobster. There’s also a central bar and a drink cart on the outdoor plaza. Grain & Grit also owns Carnitas’ Snack Shack and the Broken Yolk Cafés.

Several more food halls are scheduled to open around San Diego County this year making them possible contenders for the 2020 list. They include:

Windmill Food Hall, Carlsbad: Restaurant visionary James Markham hopes to open his 12,000-square-foot food hall inside Carlsbad’s iconic windmill building in late January. The hall will have a 52-seat indoor/outdoor bar and 11 vendor booths, including Bing Haus rolled ice cream; Bread and Cheese grilled sandwiches; Cross Street Chicken & Beer; Lobster West; Taco Lady; Thai-Style Chicken; a Korean hot pot spot; and a Belgian waffle and fries shop and more. 890 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad.

Park Commons, Sorrento Mesa: Whisknladle Hospitality is taking over the former San Diego Tech Center building to create a 10,000-square-foot food hall and event space. Chef Ryan Johnston will oversee the multi-concept food stations that will serve salads, Middle Eastern wraps, street tacos, poke, sandwiches and coffee, plus an evening bar. A summer opening is projected. The Park, 9645 Scranton Road, Sorrento Valley.

Pan y Sal, Barrio Logan: The historic Bread & Salt venue will soon become home to this food hall featuring vendors from South Bay and Northern Baja California. The centerpiece is a 120-seat-square-foot bakery and cooking school run by Via International’s Elisa Sabatini and Natal Hospitality. There are plans for pop-up demonstrations by regional chefs and more. 1955 Julian Ave., San Diego.

The Outpost Urban Food Hall, Poway: In fall 2019, North County’s 3LB Restaurant Group will open a two-story 21,000-square-foot food hall in Poway’s mixed-use The Outpost development. The creator of Urge gastropubs, Mason Ale Works and other hospitality properties will oversee the leasing of 14 vendor stalls and will operate some of their own concepts at the 171-seat property. 13247 Poway Road, Poway. Twitter: @pamkragen

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