Blow out a candle for Raleigh’s first food hall, as Morgan Street turns one this week. The birthday celebration includes a bit of a vendor shakeup, as a new gin bar opens and a downtown mainstay departs.
The long-awaited Morgan Street Food Hall opened Aug. 20 last year, adding more than a dozen new restaurants to downtown Raleigh, all within a city block. Owner Niall Hanley also owns Glenwood Ave. bars the Hibernian Irish Pub and Raleigh Beer Garden.
This week, Morgan Street announced a handful of new additions to the food hall’s roster of vendors. A new gin bar called Aunty Betty’s is now open, named for Hanley’s Irish aunt and devoted to her favorite drink. The cocktail bar is along the Morgan Street side of the food hall, next to Iyla’s Southern Kitchen. The bar’s cocktail program is run by Gregory Ewan, of cocktail bar Watts & Ward. (The name of the bar manager has been corrected.)
New food vendors include a sandwich shop called Primal Cuts. Hanley is also behind this addition, which claims prime rib sandwiches as its calling card. Diners can also build their own sandwich from a menu of meat and cheese options, all paired with house-fried chips.
Next month, two more vendors will come on line, including a new fast casual Italian spot called Pazza Pasta. From Raleigh’s Umbria Restaurant Group, which also owns downtown’s Mulino Italian Kitchen, Pazza’s menu will include fresh pastas, Italian meat and cheese plates and salads. For dessert, Pazza plans a cannoli bar.
Also in the sweet realm, Morgan Street’s third addition is a fairgrounds favorite, Raleigh Donuts. The doughnut shop tapped the food hall for its second location, but plans the same popular mini doughnuts.
In the last year, there have also been a couple of departures from the original list of vendors. The latest comes from popular downtown lunch spot Carroll’s Kitchen. The nonprofit restaurant announced on Instagram that its last day in the food hall was Aug. 17, but that its downtown location at the corner of Martin and Wilmington streets would remain open.
Earlier this year, the ramen bar Broth was replaced with The Katsu, serving fried katsu sandwiches of breaded pork, chicken, beef or shrimp.
The first anniversary of the opening of Morgan Street Food Hall suggests the Triangle’s food hall experiment has been successful. Morgan Street and its east Raleigh counterpart Transfer Company are now up and running all week long. Chapel Hill’s Blue Dogwood Public Market, the area’s first food hall, is adding new vendors this summer, and there’s one more project in the works, as the Durham Food Hall is still expected to open sometime this year.
For more information on the Morgan Street Food Hall, visit morganfoodhall.com