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Gigantic Food Hall (And Record Store) Will Change Lunch In The Loop Forever

By Anthony Todd in Food on Apr 28, 2016 2:18PM

A rendering of the interior of Revival Food Hall. Photo courtesy of 16" on Center.

Food halls are all the rage right now (see: Latinicity, Eataly) but Revival Food Hall, which we got word of Wednesday evening, promises to be something a little different: A showcase for Chicago restaurants and chefs and what owner Bruce Finkelman calls a "lifestyle place."

Finkelman is one of the owners of 16" On Center, a group that runs many prominent Chicago standbys, including Dusek's Board & Beer, Longman & Eagle, Empty Bottle, Punch House, The Promontory and more. This new project will occupy a 24,000 square foot space in a 1907 Daniel Burnham-designed building in the loop (125 S. Clark St.), and feature 15 different fast-casual style restaurants. When asked whether this will be the typical Chipotle and Panera, Finkelman laughed. "This will all be groups like us—people we respect, and the people we’d like to have food with," he told Chicagoist.

What does that mean, literally? Revival will feature outposts of independent, Chicago-owned spots from all over the city. Finkelman believes many Loop-dwellers, especially business people, might not have encountered some of these spots before.

"These are people that go to our restaurants at night and on the weekends, but when they are downtown they don’t have those kinds of eating options, so our idea was to bring the neighborhoods to them," he said.

None of the specific restaurants have been announced yet, but this sounds like exactly what the Loop needs (and exactly what should probably go into O'Hare and Navy Pier as well): a permanent taste of Chicago's best restaurants, in fast casual format.

In addition, there will be a coffee roaster by day which turns into a cocktail bar by night. Finkelman equated it to spots in Europe, "where the place you get your espresso in the morning is the same place you get your drinks in the afternoon and evening."

Finally, they've teamed up with Curbside Splendor to open a book and record store in the space, featuring independent Chicago artists. Finkelman reminded us: "Our foundation is in music, so it makes perfect sense to have that involved with this project."

I asked Finkelman if it was daunting to open such a large project, and one that was so different from their typical restaurants and bars. He insisted it's not really all that different. "At most of our establishments, from Empty Bottle to Longman to Promontory, we’re always trying to set up a little community; places where people can hang out, get coffee in the morning, get lunch, dinner, evening activities. It’s not really that far from our wheelhouse!"

Renovation on the building is in progress, and they are targeting a summer opening date.