A food hall is back on the menu for Richmond, with a local operator ready to open the city’s first in Manchester.
Dubbed Hatch Local, the food hall concept has signed on for 9,000 square feet at The Current, a mixed-use project by Lynx Ventures at 400 Hull St.
Hatch Local will be operated by Hatch Kitchen, a two-year-old commissary kitchen and food and beverage incubator space also on the Southside. The food hall will include two outdoor dining areas, and nine stalls for food vendors to rent.
It will open below and between The Current’s 200-plus apartments and 70,000 square feet of office space, which is taking shape across two buildings. Lynx has been working on the 2-acre, $68 million project since 2018.
“When we were doing our market research on this, what we liked about food halls conceptually was the choice and vibrant atmosphere they bring,” said Lynx Development Manager Kate Hosko. “It’s kind of the perfect amenity for residents and office tenants. We’re envisioning this being open morning, noon, and night.”
Hatch Kitchen is run by Austin Green and Brad Cummings. Lynx is a partner in Hatch Kitchen, as it leases four buildings in Lynx’s Clopton Siteworks development in the Southside. Members at Hatch include Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches, Arroz, Zorch Pizza and Fat Rabbit Cakes.
The roster of food vendors won’t be exclusively Hatch members, though Director of Operations Shannon Conway said they’re focusing on recruiting operators from Richmond and that they’ll treat it as a pipeline for some Hatch members who want to try the brick-and-mortar route.
“We’re hoping to showcase some current Hatch kitchen users and treat this as a jumping off point for them,” Conway said.
One of Hatch Local’s vendors will be a bar, which Conway said they hope draws nightlife- and cocktail-specific operators.
“(It’ll) be a restaurant residency attached to the main bar. We’re seeking out local operators that have great bar programs we can scale down a bit,” Conway said. “Hopefully, that’s something that’ll be six-month or one-year commitments.”
Austin Green added that Hatch Local will also have a small retail market and a coffee bar. Ironclad Coffee Roasters had previously signed on to open a cafe at The Current, however Hosko said that deal fell through. Following the Hatch Local deal, The Current has about 8,000 square feet of retail space remaining.
Seating will be available indoors, as well as outdoors on a patio and in The Current’s courtyard.
Fultz & Singh Architects is designing the food hall, and Lynx is preparing to put it out to bid to general contractors.
Hatch Local is slated to open in spring 2021. Green said they haven’t yet signed any vendors but have feelers out.
“We have some great connections,” he said. “Now the next step is to go talk to the people we know will be the right fit that are rising young talents in the Richmond food and beverage scene.”
Just before opening the food hall, Lynx will begin pre-leasing The Current’s apartments in Q1 2021. Hosko said the project’s office space has drawn healthy interest from prospective tenants, but none have officially signed on.
Once opened, Hatch Local will be the first food hall to open in the Richmond region. A separate concept from a D.C. restaurant group had been in the works over the summer before it was scrapped. It was to have been anchored by The Veil Brewing Co.