Ever been to a specialty food emporium in Europe? Or maybe a splurge-worthy hall of restaurants right here in the States?
If not, a soon-to-open collective eatery has set out to change that for local gourmets. The Hall on Franklin aims to bring a chef-driven experience to Tampa Heights while helping establish the area itself as a destination.
Billed as the first of its kind in Tampa (though the 22,000-square-foot Heights Market planned for the historic Armature Works building nearby has been similarly described), the upscale concept will bring multiple dining options, a craft coffee bar, cocktail lounge, outdoor seating, retail and live entertainment to the burgeoning neighborhood on the north end of downtown Tampa. It’s scheduled to premiere this fall on the first floor of the revitalized Farris Building at 1701 N. Franklin St., which was home to an auto company in the 1920s.
Inspired by Euro-style food halls and successful restaurants in major cities, The Hall is exactly what you’re thinking: a dining hall made up of local restaurants co-existing under one roof and serving fresh, prepared foods. Some will bring favorites from their flagship locations, while others will introduce new pop-up projects.
North Star Eatery, an Asian fusion concept from Anise Global Gastrobar’s Kevin and Sing Hurt; a coffee bar by Ty Beddingfield (master barista previously with Buddy Brew Coffee) called Bar Kȯ-fē; the Latin fusion La Bodega from Felicia LaCalle (Samba Room’s former executive chef); and Bake’n Babes, featuring Julie Curry’s desserts and confectionery, are planned. The bar concept will pour signature cocktails by Ro Patel, who’s created bar programs for places like the new Franklin Manor, Ciro's Speakeasy & Supper Club and Anise. And homemade soups and sides, gourmet sandwiches, milkshakes and popsicles will churn out of Heights Melt Shoppe thanks to David Burton (Holy Hog Barbecue, Tampa Pizza Company and SoFresh).
Maureen Ayral of A2 LLC spent two years refurbishing the historic Farris Building, updating its hardwood floors, brick walls, 18-foot ceilings and ornate iron details. Brick and tile on the exterior were also refreshed, and large street-level windows have been converted into glass garage doors.
In a statement, the property owner said the idea of a collaborative dining concept has always appealed to her.
“The building not only served as a link to the past, but held the promise of what the future could bring to the area,” Ayral said. “I wanted the new space to honor the past and highlight that golden era, while allowing for the creativity and adaptability that business owners and patrons search for today.”
A grand opening for the indoor-outdoor Hall is tentatively slated for Nov. 1.