If 2019 is poised to be the year of food halls in Boston, it’s already starting out strong. On Monday, Time Out Market announced its first wave of chefs and restaurants, and it’s a veritable who’s who of Boston all-stars.
The market, which will open in the 401 Park Drive building in the Fenway this spring, will be home to 15 eateries, two bars, a demo kitchen, a retail shop, art, and music. Six food concepts were included in Monday’s announcement, with another round scheduled to be announced in a few months, closer to the opening.
James Beard award-winning chef Tim Cushman and sake expert Nancy Cushman, the duo behind Asian restaurants O Ya and Hojoko, will operate a pair of Asian concepts, while chef Tony Maws of Craigie on Main and The Kirkland Tap and Trotter will bring variations of his highly coveted burger to the market. Tico’s chef Michael Schlow will open an eatery dedicated to simple Italian cooking, with dishes like marinated baby artichokes and cavatelli with spicy Italian sausage ragu. Chef Peter Ungár will serve seasonal, New England-focused dishes that are reminiscent of his food at Tasting Counter, and Nina and Raffi Festekjian, owners of Armenian-Lebanese restaurant Anoush’ella, will offer Eastern Mediterranean items like red lentil kofta wraps and baba ghanoush. Union Square Donuts was also announced as one of the market’s forthcoming vendors, and will sell its made-from-scratch doughnuts, including sea salt bourbon caramel, maple bacon, and vanilla bean.
The food hall’s location is in the old Landmark Center, an Art Deco building that is undergoing a modern overhaul courtesy of prolific Fenway real estate developer Samuels & Associates.
“When we open a market, we look for a space where people live, work, and where tourists go,” Didier Souillat, CEO of Time Out Market, told Boston.com. “And that area of town is doing really well these days. There’s a lot more people living there now, and a lot more people working. And, of course, it’s the home of the iconic Red Sox.”
Souillat said that the concrete floor and columns inside, along with the outdoor pillars, are staying, while touches of wood — including communal tables — will be introduced.
“We are keeping the essence and DNA of that building,” he said. “We’ve also made a huge opening to the second floor so that we have a feel of a grand entrance. When you come in, you really have a sense of huge space and height.”
Time Out Market is part of the Time Out Group, a media company that launched its first curated market in Lisbon in 2014. There are additional markets scheduled to open in Miami, New York, Chicago, and Montreal in 2019, and in London-Waterloo and Prague in 2021.
In Lisbon, many vendors go by the name of the signature chef that is cooking behind them, although Souillat said that Union Square Donuts and Anoush’ella will go by their restaurant names in Boston.
Chefs who sign on to any Time Out Market are under contract with the company for a year, a short time frame that Souillat said ensures that their hands aren’t tied.
“If they’re happy to be with us, and if they want to continue to be with us, we’d love that,” he said. “We have to also be mindful that trends evolve very quickly. We have a demo kitchen that is used to highlight what is hot now in Boston, and also to invite [up-and-coming chefs] the opportunity to cook, and to decide if they want to open a brick and mortar.”