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Dunwoody food hall expected to open at year’s end

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DUNWOODY, Ga. — Supply chain issues created by the pandemic delayed the grand opening of a new food hall in Dunwoody, but the owner is undaunted.

The Hall at Ashford’s grand opening has been postponed until the end of the year, but owner Jamal Wilson said construction continues as necessary supplies have become available.

Wilson and his colleagues at The Hall Properties have already rented out six of the space’s nine restaurant stalls and are actively speaking with five other vendors to round out the collection.

“We just want to get the right mix that works for the area, and we also want to involve some local talent,” Wilson said.

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When patrons enter the food hall, they will have the full menus of all nine vendors at their fingertips, getting to mix and match items and build their ideal meal from scratch.

“You’re able to walk the space and enjoy it, as you would a normal food hall, but you can also sit down and order from wait staff, and we deliver the food and drink directly to you,” Wilson said. “So, it’s kind of a full-service restaurant experience with the diversity of multiple kitchens.”

Dunwoody chef Teresa Acosta is one of The Hall at Ashford Dunwoody’s six contracted vendors. Acosta won a nationwide competition with her specialty meal of a Cuban sandwich and Yuca fries in February, earning her a complimentary vendor stall in The Hall.

Joining Acosta are the Fork & Hen which specializes in Southern fried chicken, Wabi Sabi, an Asian street food concept, The Chef & I, straight out of Nashville, Tennessee, Huli Bowl, which serves poke bowls and Hawaiian barbeque rotisserie chicken, and Itzayana a Mexican concept that specializes in fluffy tacos.

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Beyond giving visitors variety in their meals, the design is also more cost effective for the chefs.

“Your typical restaurant of say, 40-50 seats is somewhere between a $500-$700,000 investment,” Wilson said. “But with us, you get into the space for $100,000 and we’re able to provide close to 300-400 seats with every restaurant able to sell to every seat.”

The Hall will also include three bars, a Topgolf simulator, lounge areas and a private dining room with a full-service kitchen so vendors can cater to private dining experiences as well.

While a formal economic impact estimate has not been calculated, Wilson said the $5 million facility will employ somewhere between 75-100 peoples for both front and back of house jobs.

Wilson’s first food hall, The Hall on Franklin, opened in Tampa, Florida, in 2017. Its success has spurred the Dunwoody project as well as new developments in Midtown Tampa, Orlando and Snellville.

Dunwoody city officials have shared their enthusiasm for the development.

“The Hall at Ashford Lane is an exciting project that will bring new energy to the area,” Dunwoody Economic Development Director Michael Starling said. “People who live and work in Dunwoody have been watching the transformation of Ashford Lane and look forward to the city’s first food hall.”

Wilson shares Starling’s enthusiasm for the project and the Dunwoody area at large.

“The area is incredible,” Wilson said. “The demographics are insane. The city is growing, and we’re truly committed to Georgia as a whole. … We’re so beyond excited, the feedback we’ve been getting from the community has been A+, and I just can’t wait to bring in something new and different.”

Reach Sydney Dangremond at 770-847-7404. Follow her on Twitter @syddang_.

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