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On this installment of The NOLADrinks Show, we discuss the realities of food halls including the economics involved for vendors and many other factors and challenges you might not know. We welcome independent journalist Boyce Upholt who has been reporting on the topic.

Pictured above from left – Bryan Dias of The NOLADrinks Show and Boyce Upholt, Independent Journalist and Freelance Writer.

NOLADrinks Show – 10-14-19 – What You Should Know About Food Halls

We start things off acknowledging the recent tragedy in New Orleans – the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel construction site at the edge of the French Quarter. We also let you know about this week’s show.

Then, we head over to Tujague’s for our featured interview with freelance writer and independent journalist, Boyce Upholt. Boyce moved to New Orleans somewhat recently and often focuses on topics connected to the theme “how we shape place, how place shapes us.”

The primary discussion on this episode revolves around his recent piece for Heated, a part of Medium, “The Troubling Economics of Food Halls.” See it here.

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We discuss how food halls typically work including a discussion of the terms of leases that often include paying a percent of sales in addition to paying rent – though arrangements vary with different halls. We also discuss how up-and-coming chefs can be misled regarding the appeal of food halls. For example, start-up costs can end up being much higher than anticipated due to the lease structures.

Also, we chat about the dynamics and ramifications food halls can have on neighborhoods. One of the halls that Upholt examined closely for his report was St. Roch Market located in the St. Roch area of New Orleans. The hall, operated by Helpful Hound LLC (formerly, Bayou Secret LLC), which has opened additional halls in New Orleans and other locations since starting St. Roch Market, has not been without controversy.

Pictured above from left – Bryan Dias of The NOLADrinks Show and Boyce Upholt, Independent Journalist and Freelance Writer.

We discuss aspects of this including various tenants feeling left misinformed and, in some cases, financially strapped. We also talk about issues connected to the food hall, the building was restored and is owned by the City of New Orleans, where many feel that promises made to the city and the neighborhood were not met. This includes the sale of fresh, affordable produce in the space.

Of course, we also discuss other locations and positive aspects and experiences others have had starting up their culinary businesses in food halls. This includes how these places can offer an “incubator-like” setting with lower start-up costs, shared infrastructure, and more.

Boyce sticks around for “Another Shot with NOLADrinks” where we turn the conversation towards some of his other work and background including how he is embarking on writing about the cocktail scene. Certainly, New Orleans is a solid spot for that!

We close things out with our “Parting Shot.” Thanks to Tujague’s for hosting us!

Cheers, You All!

~ Bryan