Options abound in new communal dining space.
Going out in the Short North can be hectic. Hopping from bar to bar can limit your food options, while posting up at a single restaurant can limit your fun. What’s more, if you’re rolling six or seven deep, how do you satisfy everyone’s cravings without hitting up multiple spots? Short of running into an impromptu food truck festival, this devastating problem lacked a solution—until now.
Along comes Short North Food Hall, a new concept combination (think bar + arcade, only bar + cafeteria) now open from Corso Ventures, the team behind Pint House, Forno, and Standard Hall. Inside the space at 1112 N High St. (the old blood bank for you SN old-schoolers) resides a group of five compact kitchen booths, each serving its own version of late night favorites. The northern end of the Short North has pizza in Paulie Gee’s, home-y diner fare at Michael’s Goody Boy, a gastropub menu at Barrel Spirits on High, and even Thai, courtesy of Basil. Food Hall attempts to pull a similar variety of tastes together, all under one roof.
Representing an array of cuisines, Food Hall’s opening lineup should have something for everyone in the burgeoning bar crowd. Coming from our own neck of the woods, Legacy Smokehouse BBQ slings stick-to-your-ribs comfort food: meat, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc. From south of the border, there’s Tortilla, a Mexican street food vendor. The word tacos itself has become a rallying cry; Tortilla will likely always have a line. Vinny’s Italian features the efforts, pizza et al, of the menu developer at Forno. By-the-slice is its own style—maybe grabbing a single slice as an appetizer will become a thing. Short Grain is the sushi option, named for the style of rice used in the sticky stuff, and gives patrons a shot at lighter fare. Finally, Shokudo Ramen will be doling out big bowls of broth sure to nip impending hangovers in the bud.
Beer and booze abound in the massive center bar, but Food Hall doubles down on the cafeteria experience with pre-bottled cocktails like the obligatory barrel-aged bourbon plays and fizzy classics. The ease of a bottled beverage makes getting from counter to table with a tray a piece of cake. Behind the bar, naturally, are about a dozen big screens beaming all the sports a bar can handle. Its size should make flagging down a bartender a breeze as well.
As far as ambience goes, it’s a big, very well-lit space with clean surfaces and lots of industrial elements—subway tile, exposed I-beams, brick walls. Those making their way over from Standard Hall next door may find it brighter than their previous post, but where the food is meant to be restaurant quality, navigating the bustle requires more than just candlelight.
Getting a seat should provide little challenge, as the space is expansive and packed with picnic tables, stools at high tops, and, of course, plenty of room at the bar. The accommodations should be especially useful for larger groups, like bachelor and bachelorette parties and your average pedal wagon posse. If you’re in need of a refill, fret not, because the creators cooked up a seat-saving card system to make sure you can hit the bar without screaming seat check every time.
Ending your night out at Food Hall is certainly a departure from the oft-dreaded street meat, and when temperatures dip, diners will delight in getting to sit and eat in a controlled indoor environment. Down the line, the crowds Corso caters to will enjoy “a full scale brunch, Five Dolla Holla happy hour, and a collaboration night where the different kitchens will combine to create a special limited fusion menu,” so be sure to check back in on this new space.