Today marks the reopening of the Hargrave St. Market Food Hall. With the reopening of the city during the current pandemic, the reopening of the Food Hall is one place that really interests me. The Hall is built on the idea of large groups of people gathering, especially during events such as Jets games.
However, the ongoing issues of physical distancing surrounding Coronavirus will put the effectiveness of this model to the test
Hargrave St. Market Layout
The food hall consists of 5 restaurants, one coffee shop, and a wine bar on the second floor of the True North Square. There is a brewery on the main floor and there will soon also be an upscale grocery store on the first floor.
The main view out of the second floor window is another True North building across the plaza, You do get a little bit of a view of downtown buildings to the Northeast or Northwest, depending on where you sit.
One thing I really like about the food hall is that there are a wide variety of seating options. Pizzeria Gusto, is the one restaurant with it’s own built in seating. Otherwise, you have long bars, two, four, six, and communal tables. There is also a small section containing soft chairs, and sofas.
The predominant colour scheme is black and brown. The food hall also has a selection of large screen TVs to let patrons catch up on the latest sporting action or any other big event. One problem in the layout is that, depending on where you sit, many of the light fixtures obstruct your line of vision
Food Hall, Food Stalls
I originally planned to post this in early March, but then the pandemic shutdown hit. Prior to that I hit all the restaurants at least once. I will say off the top, that on the whole, the pricing limits the likelihood of this becoming a regular place from me.
The wine bar and brewery are still to be visited. I also wonder if the economic fallout from the Coronavirus will hurt the viability of these higher end restaurants. Here are my thoughts on the restaurants.
I showed one of the dishes from Saburo at the top of the post. This is the only restaurant, that I visited more than once. This is the place I would mostly likely make return visits for. The food is delicious and the portion sizes left me feeling satisfied.
Next is Yard Burger. I tried one of the more basic burgers. This is a basic bacon cheeseburger. Very tasty, and the fries mean you leave with your hunger satisfied. You can read about their Fried Chicken Fest entry here.
I ordered the Shakshuka, and found it to be quite a satisfying breakfast.
Three Hits, Two Misses
Three out of the five restaurants are reasonably to very satisfying on quality and value. The other two, Good Fight Taco, and Gusto North both feature really good food, but in each case I felt the portions sizes not worth the price.
Hargrave St. Market Needs Better Signs
My one real beef with the Food Hall is that the signage giving direction to the hall is very poor. For example, the doorway off the skywalk advertises itself as an alarmed emergency exit. Don’t worry, you can still enter through that door, without an alarm sounding.
Even worse, is trying to get to the Food Hall from street level. The entrances are all several yards off of Graham, without good directional arrows to point you to them. As well, and today is a good example of this, when certain entrances are shut down, because of things such as installing the big screen TV, there is no good information of where to go.
The Hargrave Market Food Hall is going to need all the business it can get just to survive. Proper signage and directions will go a long way to making sure this happens.