Back in the before times, food halls were a traveling foodie's first stop when they dropped in on a new city. As with many cool things, ABQ was a little slow on the uptake, but the past few years have seen some entrepreneurial developers working to make up for lost time.
For restaurateurs, saving 50 percent or more on startup costs is a big lure—especially in times like this.
From the original at Green Jeans Farmery to the biggest at Sawmill Market, each of Albuquerque's new food hall options has something different to offer.
Green Jeans Food Hall
3600 Cutler Ave. NE
Category: Food Hall
Roy Soloman first introduced the Duke City to the food hall concept with his innovative shipping container build in 2016. Many have copied it, including Solomon himself who built and opened the larger Tin Can Alley on Alameda NE in 2019.
At both locations Santa Fe Brewing Company anchors Green Jeans, which hosts an eclectic group of food and beer choices from:
Green Jeans also hosts Sacred Garden's cannabis dispensary and Brotique 505, a one-stop shop for all your New Mexico-inspired apparel and nicknacks.
COVID made everything more complicated, but Green Jeans is still making it work for customers and retailers alike with lots of outdoor dining space in the sun, in the shade or around the fire.
Like every food hall, it's hard to pick a favorite. Instead, try them all and pick your own. Just drop in on Brotique 505 on your way out and drop a few dollars on a green chile-scented candle or zia-embroidered earmuffs made by a local artistan who needs your support.
Tin Can Alley
6110 Alameda Blvd. NE
Neighborhood: Northeast Heights
Category: Food Hall
Phone: (505) 208-0508
With nine different food options under one roof, your party doesn't have to spend an hour on your text message thread arguing over menus.
This cool new shipping container community opened just as COVID restrictions hit, so they know how to follow the rules: Everyone gets their temp checked at the door along with a few of the standard "where have you been?" questions. If you pass the test, you have the option to order from one of the many locally-operated food stalls including:
And since this is a report about outdoor dining, be assured that they have that, too. Most restaurants on-site offer tableside delivery or the option to text you when your meal is ready. Upstairs on the patio, you can enjoy sweeping views of the Sandias or mesa sunsets under new heater strips keeping everyone warm. Their small tables are built-in and perfectly sized for the current five-person limit.
If you need a little something warm while you wait on lunch, Michael Thomas Coffee is on-site with plenty of coffee concoctions to keep you warm.
For those who still won't brave the cold, Santa Fe Brewing's downstairs tap room lets a few small groups in on a first-come, first-served basis.
In a place with so many options, choosing food is hard to do! But when it comes to beer, Santa Fe Brewing Company's Adobe Igloo is the perfect pairing for almost any winter weather experience. This Brown Ale-ish winter ale goes great with BBQ from SA's or liquid nitrogen frozen Himalayan salted caramel ice cream from Nitro Fog.
1909 Bellamah Ave. NW
Neighborhood: Old Town
Category: Food Hall
Phone: 505) 563-4473
Albuquerque is going all-in on the food hall trend, and the biggest (and busiest) of them all is the new Sawmill Market in, well, the Sawmill neighborhood just north of Old Town.
The ever-growing list of merchants was at 24 the last time we counted, but that still doesn't fill all the stalls available in the 30,000 square foot converted warehouse space with a huge outdoor dining area complete with fire pits, a booze trailer and outdoor games. Most vendors even deliver to your table, if you ask.
Like other food halls, Sawmill is a stickler for the rules (as they should be!). Everyone has to consent to a temperature check and those "Where have you been?" questions required for NM Safe compliance. Inside, staff are constantly cleaning and sanitizing tables. (Look for the tabletop signs to see which ones were recently cleaned and ready for your party.)
Use the QR codes at your table to order from any of the food and drink merchants, and have it delivered tableside. Easy peasy.
Let's be real: in a place this big with so many offerings there is no way you are going to have just one thing. Just remember to follow the rules and wash your hands often so this cool new place can remain open for everyone for a long time to come. (Also, tip your server!)
505 Central Ave. NW
Category: Food Hall
Phone: (505) 503-8777
You'd be forgiven if you thought that Downtown was dead—at least until the pandemic is in the rearview mirror. Government and Downtown workers long ago settled in to work-from-home, and the bar and restaurant scene didn't see much point in opening until this thing is done.
But that's not how local architect and developer Mark Baker saw it. In the midst of the pandemic, Baker opened Albuquerque's newest food hall right smack in the heart of Downtown, and in mid-November he invited a few friends to sample the wares.
That "friends and family" event was so popular, Downtowners wrapped around the corner that first night to peek at the revamped 13,000 square foot hall featuring an oyster bar, ramen and even a macaron shop. There are tacos, burgers and pizza, too, for the less refined.
But the coolest part is the hip new Moonwalk Bev, featuring their own microbrews and cocktails, as well as package options to go.
Food offerings are still expanding, but first out of the gate are:
For the Downtown live/work crew, 505 is already a hit. A curbside patio space shared with Humble Coffee (another Mark Baker venture) next door provides plenty of outdoor dining space morning, noon and night.
These halls aren't the last ABQ will see. Developers are already working on The Highland Central Market, another 15,000+ square foot food hall under construction on Central Avenue across from Presbyterian Hospital. A new skybridge over Central gives those restaurants access to 5,000 workers and patients who visit Pres every day, along with the future residents of the 220 new apartments under construction alongside.
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