Durham Food Hall aims to open fall 2017

Durham Food Hall hopes to open in the fall 2017.
Durham Food Hall hopes to open in the fall 2017. Courtesy of Durham Food Hall

Food halls, once a mainstay of major European and American cities (think Paris’s famed Les Halles), have been making a comeback recently.

Eataly and Chelsea Market in Manhattan, Revival Food Hall in Chicago and Atherton Mill and Market in Charlotte are just a few of the dozens of new food halls that have helped repopularize this historic form of shopping and eating.

Durham residents can look forward to their own piece of the food hall pie when the recently-announced Durham Food Hall opens in the Reuse Arts District at the Shoppes at Lakewood next fall.

Durham native Adair Mueller and her partner, Andrew Smith, are the pair behind this ambitious new venture. Mueller, who has a background in tech sales, and Smith, who worked for years in his family’s wholesale business, moved back to Durham from New York City specifically to open the Durham Food Hall.

“I didn’t want to move back just because I had lived here,” Mueller noted as she described a cross-country search for the perfect city that included Austin and Nashville. “Durham has a language all its own.”

The food hall will be part dining space, part communal space and part event space, with Mueller and Smith determined to make the venture an integral part of Durham’s food and community scene.

Features like an outdoor dining deck for events and live music and private event space with a full AV kit will provide the base for pop-up shops, makers markets, concerts and more.

Restaurants selected for a stall will be required to source a portion of their ingredients locally and have at least one menu item available for under $5, a reflection of the diversity of incomes and experiences in the surrounding Lakewood neighborhood.

The Durham Food Hall will be just one of many new businesses coming to the Shoppes at Lakewood; Durham’s beloved re-use nonprofit The Scrap Exchange moved in last year (and now owns about half of the plaza).

For now those interested in following along with the project’s progress can keep an eye on the website:

Restaurants and chefs interested in applying to be a vendor in The Durham Food Hall can find the Vendor Application at Mueller and Smith are accepting vendor applications through the end of January 2017.

Matt Lardie is a Durham-based food and travel writer. Reach him at