Restaurant News & Reviews

Durham Food Hall is still in the works, but the planned location has changed

The Durham Food Hall will be built in Liberty Warehouse Apartments, a mixed-use complex near downtown Durham.
The Durham Food Hall will be built in Liberty Warehouse Apartments, a mixed-use complex near downtown Durham. Liberty Warehouse Apartments

The Durham Food Hall, initially announced as a major piece of the food-driven growth in the Lakewood neighborhood, will be in a different location than planned.

This week, Liberty Warehouse Apartments announced on social media that the food hall will be built in the mixed-use complex near downtown. In December 2016, food hall organizers said it would be part of the Reuse Arts District project in the Lakewood area of Durham.

The announcement means that another project announced for Liberty Apartments won’t take shape as planned, either.

The new food hall space had been reserved for the relocation of The Alley bowling alley. The Alley had been in Raleigh on Hillsborough Street until late 2016, when it closed to make way for a Target. Chris Poole, who owns a Charleston location of The Alley with his brother Jimmy said there no longer is an immediate plan to open another bowling alley in the Triangle.

Durham native Adair Mueller, who is leading the food hall, said she’s excited to bring the project closer to downtown. Liberty Apartments are across the street from Durham’s Central Park and farmer’s market and a short stroll from the city’s bustling Geer Street district and the heart of downtown.

She said it will move into a roughly 12,000-square-foot ground floor space and will include a mezzanine level.

“It’s very central and an iconic building in Durham,” Mueller said. “I feel really great about being part of this area in Durham.”

Meanwhile, the Reuse Arts District and the Lakewood neighborhood have seen new development in the past year. The district is anchored by the relocated Scrap Exchange. Last year, Cocoa Cinnamon coffee shop opened its third location in the neighborhood. So did The Lakewood, the first full-service restaurant from Scratch Bakery owner Phoebe Lawless. Lawless also opened a second, smaller location of her Scratch Bakery.

The Durham Food Hall seemed like a significant piece of the area’s redevelopment, but Mueller said it was not to be.

“We were passionate about being part of the development of that forgotten part of (Durham) but it ended up not working out,” Mueller said.

Mueller said the concept for the Durham Food hall won’t change. It will still be vendor driven, but will join a part of the city that already operates as a food destination. She sees patrons taking meals and eating out in the open space of the park.

“The Central Park space is almost a food hub (in Durham),” Mueller said. “It creates a real synergy and flow from the food hall to the farmer’s market and it’s walking distance from downtown.”

Mueller declined to name specific vendors, saying an announcement will come in the coming months as the food hall rebrands with the move. She said the project is still expected to open in 2018, perhaps by late summer or early fall.

Two food halls are planned in Raleigh while another is in the works for Chapel Hill.

Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer