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oys­ters from Elysian) can take as much time as they want.

A food hall, for the unini­ti­ated, is some­where be­tween a New York hot dog push­cart and a 10-course tast­ing menu at Per Se. The con­cept goes back hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, of years. Asian street mar­kets fea­tur­ing dozens of ven­dors and com­mu­nal seat­ing are the blue­print for the wave that is now con­sum­ing South Florida and much of the U.S. As a col­lege stu­dent in the 1980s, I used to stroll Bos­ton’s Fa­neuil Hall Mar­ket­place eat­ing freshly shucked cher­ry­stone clams and scald­ing slices from Pizze­ria Regina. That, too, was a food hall, al­beit in prim­i­tive form.

The newer gen­er­a­tion of food halls is get­ting fancier, fussier and more fo­cused. In South Florida, we have seen a nar­row­ing by niche with an Asian food hall (1-800-Lucky in Wyn­wood) and Ital­ian food (La Cen­trale in Brick­ell). We also have a glo­ri­fied, mall food court re­branded as a food hall (Treats Food Hall at Aven­tura Mall) af­ter it wel­comed a Shake Shack from restau­ra­teur Danny Meyer and de­signer pizza from chef Todd English. In some cir­cles, Sbarro and Burger King no longer cut it.

Roughly a dozen food halls have opened or are be­ing built in South Florida, in­clud­ing one an­nounced for Del­ray Beach next year. The Time Out Mar­ket near Lin­coln Road in Mi­ami Beach is set to open in early 2019, with of­fer­ings from top-flight tal­ent such as chef Jeremy Ford (Stub­born Seed). One food hall has al­ready shut­tered, the health­minded Jack­son Hall at the Jack­son Hos­pi­tal med­i­cal com­plex in Mi­ami.

Of the food halls cur­rently op­er­at­ing, I like St. Roch the best. Its range and qual­ity are im­pres­sive, and the vibe is clean, sophis-


Diego Flores makes fresh pasta at Dal Plin, an Ital­ian eatery in the St. Roch Mar­ket in Mi­ami.

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