Market Halls is to open the UK’s largest food hall in the former BHS in London’s Oxford Street this summer.
The group’s new flagship venue will have space for 800 covers over three floors with 12 food vendors, four bars, a children’s play area, dedicated events spaces and a demo kitchen.
Simon Anderson, chief operating officer of Market Halls, said: “Market Hall West End will bring together the best of London’s wonderful and diverse food scene all under one roof. Our 12 kitchens will have something for everyone, with a roster made up from the most popular traders at Fulham and Victoria and some new, exciting concepts.
“The impact we’ve created with Fulham and Victoria will be continued with one of the most ambitious projects of this type ever taken on in the UK. We intend for Market Hall West End to set a new benchmark for this burgeoning sector, providing an alternative option to help reinvigorate our troubled British high street.”
The kitchens, two bars, children’s and event spaces will be on the first floor, reached via escalators, with views overlooking Cavendish Square and the surrounding streets. Above this will be a tap room and cocktail bar in a space with a retractable roof.
Anderson told The Caterer that event spaces had been created in response to enquires about bookings for large groups and could be brought into the main dining space when not being used.
He expects to see more food halls and experiential offerings appearing on the high street in the coming months and years. He added: “Shopping has moved online, but people still love to go out and are looking for experiences.
“The big department stores used to be an intrinsic part of peoples lives and that’s died away of late, but what we can do is provide another kind of experience. Taking dining from a single or a couple through to a larger group environment makes it more of an experience and can take up some of these larger spaces.”
This is the third site for the group, joining Fulham and Victoria, and it aims to champion British beers, spirits and soft drinks as well as being as environmentally sound as possible, banishing disposable tableware.
The group also has plans to open the Hall in intu Lakeside in Thurrock, and Anderson said his eye was on a few more London sites before starting to look to the regions.