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Morgan Street Food Hall delays its opening in 'disappointing' decision

The Morgan Street Food Hall in Raleigh hoped to open at several points last year, but is now eyeing a summer 2018 unveiling. The project will feature up to 65 vendors, the most of any area food hall.
The Morgan Street Food Hall in Raleigh hoped to open at several points last year, but is now eyeing a summer 2018 unveiling. The project will feature up to 65 vendors, the most of any area food hall. jleonard@newsobserver.com

The opening of the Morgan Street Food Hall — one of two downtown Raleigh food hall projects — will be delayed until August.

The owners of Raleigh’s first food hall made the decision Friday afternoon to push back the opening following a media preview on Tuesday.

Owners cited ongoing construction as the reason for the delay. A specific date hasn’t been set.

The project was scheduled to open Monday, July 23, the culmination of years of work and hype.

Food halls, a national trend that’s making its way to North Carolina, are filled with food stalls or vendors, similar to old markets in Europe and Asia.

The Morgan Street Food Hall will feature more than 20 food stall vendors under one roof, plus two bars and various retail kiosks.

During the media preview Tuesday night, most of the project was complete, with the majority of vendors up and running and others finishing cosmetic touches. But it was clear more work was needed, including most of the build on the largest retail space and on the corner gin bar called Auntie Betty’s.

“This week we have been working with our construction team and all of the various inspectors to finalize the project, and as of right now we will unexpectedly need to push back the opening date until August,” Morgan Street’s ownership group wrote in a news release Friday.

“We are understandably disappointed but we wanted you to be the first to know so you can inform your readers, viewers and followers. We are almost there, and by you seeing, and experiencing the space, you know that it is only a matter of time before we officially open the doors.”

Morgan Street is the creation of Niall Hanley, who owns the Hibernian Irish pubs and Raleigh Beer Garden. He blamed the delay on the complexities of squaring up nearly two dozen separate permits.

“I’ve opened a lot of restaurants, but not 22 restaurants at the same time,” Hanley said in an interview.

The food hall has named a number of potential opening dates, including as early as last spring, but has faced multiple delays. Much of the work to turn the former Jillian’s bar into the food hall has been completed in the last year.

When it opens, Morgan Street will join The Dillon and the new Union Station in remaking Raleigh’s Warehouse District.

“This is no small project, and renovating a historic building to house 20 separate culinary concepts is a complicated endeavor,” Hanley said in a release. “The rescheduled opening date represents some unforeseen delays in the final stages of the process, and we’re eager to open the Morgan Street Food Hall and start welcoming guests in the next couple of weeks.”

Morgan Street is one of four food hall projects in the Triangle. Blue Dogwood Public Market recently opened in Chapel Hill.

Transfer Co. Food Hall, the other food hall in Raleigh, also is set to open this summer at 500 E. Davie St.

Durham Food Hall, after relocating from its originally announced location to 530 Foster St., doesn’t have a timeline.

Details

Morgan Street Food Hall & Market is at 411 W. Morgan St., Raleigh. For more, go to Morganfoodhall.com.

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