An inside tour of Fareground before it opens to the public

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The food hall trend comes to Austin when Fareground opens Jan. 18. Seven restaurants will operate out of the basement of 111 Congress, a space the ELM restaurant group is developing.

“They came to us and said, ‘Hey, we want to do a food hall really as an amenity for the building,’ and we saw it as an opportunity to be an amenity for Austin,” says Chef Andrew Curren. He says food halls are all the rage in the hospitality world right now.

Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Contigo, Dai Due Taqueria, Easy Tiger, Henbit and ni-kome will have locations inside. Some of the restaurants are trying out new concepts at Fareground. “That’s a great opportunity for a restauranteur to be able to get in, do something a little different and not put in the full cost and investment of doing a brick and mortar.”

Dai Due is one of the spots that’s deviating from its original menu. The team is rolling out fresh Mexican cuisine at Fareground. “It’s a lot of fun to do some fast casual food for different people, especially in a downtown area where there’s people on the hustle and bustle of trying to grab lunch,” says Dai Due Chef Gabe Erales.

Lunch isn’t all you’ll be able to get at Fareground, though. The restaurants will serve meals all day long.

Curren says the food hall will offer a “greatest hits” collection of Austin’s hospitality industry.  “We wanted it all to be local restauranteurs that had good track records as good operators as well as great culinary minds.”

There’s something in the water — and food — in Austin right now. Austin was just rated the second most exciting food city in the country by Zagat. The restaurant rating group based its list on cities’ culinary innovation and award recognition.

Fareground (KXAN photo / Sydney Benter)

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