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Inside The Short North's New Food Hall

Clare Roth
Reed Woogerd helped develop the Short North Food Hall, which opens on March 22.

The Short North Food Hall offers five different restaurants where you can grab food, place it on a tray, and take it back to your table with a cocktail. Just don’t call it a cafeteria.

“You’re not walking in to just a space set off at another venue, like a mall or something, just to get food in a court area,” says Reed Woogerd.

Woogerd is president of Corso Ventures, who developed the High Street location.

“This space was built out to be a food hall where we’re welcoming in local chefs, restaurateurs from all over the city to really showcase their talent," Woogerd says.

Those chefs include Jeff Tsao, founder of Fukuryu Ramen, who will run a twofer sushi-Asian kitchen counter in the space, and Vince Martin, who developed the menu at Forno and will run a by-the-slice pizzeria at the hall.

So, while the set-up may feel similar to a food court, Woogerd says the quality will be at restaurant level.

“It’s a beautiful venue, and we’ve got a huge bar here, too, that’s kind of what changes the game from a food court to a food hall," Woogerd says.

Plus, he says with a laugh, “Hall just sounds nicer.”

Credit Clare Roth / WOSU
Located on High Street, the Short North Food Hall will provide an incubator of sorts for new restaurant ideas.

Starting March 22, patrons will be able to purchase food and housemade bottled cocktails from the bar, the counters, or waiters circulating the 8000-square foot space—all blond wood, exposed-brick and cement. In addition to Short Grain Sushi, Shokudo Modern Asian Kitchen and Vinny's PIzza, the hall will also offer food from Smokehouse and Tortilla Mexican Street Food.

Woogerd says if those options get too popular, he doesn’t begrudge the restauranteurs moving out and up.

“If someone does happen to open a brick and mortar, or move on to bigger and better things, that’s kind of why this place was built,” Woogerd says. “It was built to provide opportunities to those folks.”

In a city of food innovation, Woogerd is happy to be an incubator for chefs with big ideas.

“Maybe they want to try out the restaurant setting, but they don’t want to spend a million dollars to do that,” he says. “We kind of took that leap for them.”

A separate food incubator in Italian Village, the Budd Dairy Food Hall, will be run by Cameron Mitchell restaurants and open later in 2018.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.