A new food hall opened up in the Fulton Market District in Chicago in November. Whether you live in the city or are just visiting, this eatery needs to be put on your bucket list. Not to be confused with a food court (like the ones you would see in a shopping mall), a food hall is more than a step above fast food dining.
Time Out Market (Chicago) is a 50,000 square foot culinary destination for anyone who likes to eat (and that would be this girl). This gigantic space houses 18 well-known food and drink vendors as well as two full-service bars and an enclosed rooftop terrace. Many of the chefs here come from Michelin star restaurants, some of whom are also James Beard award winners. Pretty impressive resumes under one roof.
Level 1 is the main spot for food. Right now, all but one vendor have their mini-restaurant on this level. Located around the perimeter of the space, hungry customers can find anything from pizza to Portuguese fare. Ice cream, pastries, and other sweets/treats are also available to round out your meal. The first time we went, my SO had an Italian beef sandwich from Decent Beef and duck fat French fries from Duck Inn Dogs (chef Kevin Hickey is from The Duck Inn). I had the grilled prawn salad from Thai Dang (Chef Thai Dang is from the Vietnamese restaurant HaiSous). How pretty is this dish:
The seating on this level is very communal with long tables all set in the middle of the space.
Level 2 only has one food vendor, Arami. On our second visit, we both ordered sushi from here. There is additional seating up here and another (smaller) bar. Tucked away in one corner is a specialty cocktail bar. This is not a speakeasy (as some websites have called it), however, it does have a speakeasy secret vibe to it. You place your order at the window, the drinks are made behind-the-scenes, and then picked up at another window on the side. My SO had the Ghosts & Empties and I had the Way Way Way. Both were delicious!
Also located on the second floor is a Demo Kitchen. According to their website, “the demonstration kitchen allows Time Out Market to showcase up-and-coming culinary talent and accomplished visiting chefs who want to reach new audiences, support community initiatives or simply try out a new experience.” The two times I was there, the demo kitchen was not in use. They have a calendar of shows and events on their website to you can plan ahead.
Level 3 is the reason we came back a second time. I had no idea there was a rooftop bar (or a third level for that matter). It is small but with lots of windows. It was a snowy evening when we went which gave it a magical ski resort feeling.
They will also have outdoor seating, weather permitting, but that was not an option for us that night.
This is a great destination if you cannot agree on where to go for dinner (I know I am striking a nerve for some couples with that statement). Variety is the key here and I want to go back to try more dishes. The portions are decent size as well. The food hall trend is having a moment and Time Out Market has set the bar pretty high. Happy eating!
If you are reading this all the way to the end, I have a bonus recommendation for you. Just a few storefronts down is a real speakeasy called the Blind Barber. The storefront looks like a barber shop, and inside it functions as a barber shop. But once you walk through the secret door, it takes you to an intimate little club. Enjoy!