Hibernian owner to convert former Jillian’s into food hall

Niall Hanley, owner of the Hibernian Irish Pub & Restaurant and the Raleigh Beer Garden, is planning to convert the former Jillian’s space in downtown Raleigh into a food hall.

Don’t know what a food hall is? “It’s really a modern interpretation of a food court,” Hanley explained Monday.

Hanley signed the lease last week on the 15,000-square-foot space with about 6,000-square feet of outdoor space as well. He’s looking to Gotham West Market and Urbanspace, both in New York, as models for this type of business. It will be a collection of food stalls and small restaurants as well as food retailers. Hanley is hoping for a mix of businesses and offerings, such as crepes, pizza, coffeeshop, bakery, preserves, burgers, etc.

“It’s a great way for young business owners to get a start,” Hanley said. “I’d love to see some of the food truck guys.”

Hanley has yet to choose a name for the space but he hopes to have a website up soon where aspiring entreprenuers can pitch him about getting space in the food hall.

Hanley hopes to open the food hall in the spring of 2017; the Jillian’s has been closed since 2006.

This isn’t the only big news for Raleigh’s Hanley: he’s in negotiations on franchising his restaurants and he is looking to open a beer garden in Charlotte.

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Twitter: @andreaweigl