Just a year after its grand opening, Gotham Market is undergoing a revamp based on feedback from the community

Photo credit: Cool Hunting

Does the food hall concept work? Four tenants at Gotham Market at the Ashland – Mason Jar, Flip Bird, Apizza Regionale and Bar Granger – are closing, reports Eater. The closings come just a year after the food hall first opened in Fort Greene.

“We started something really good there and everyone worked really hard,” said Christopher Jaskiewicz, COO of Gotham Organization and President of Gotham Properties & Hospitality, which owns and operates the market. “But we are making changes based on feedback from the community and neighborhood.”

The market’s other anchor tenant, Boqueria, will remain open, as will its pop-up concept Hey Hey Canteen. A new, still-to-be-named modern American beer hall and kitchen will replace Mason Jar and is expected to open in time for March Madness. The bar will offer 15 to 20 craft beers on tap as well as high-end cocktails. The menu will feature traditional beer hall food like homemade soft pretzels, as well as nachos, wings, burgers and the like.

The sudden closings at the Gotham Market at the Ashland have raised questions about the viability of the food hall concept. While food halls offer certain advantages such as minimal startup expenses, short-term leases and more affordable rents than conventional restaurant spaces, some operators also point to the disadvantages of hidden costs, mandatory “open store” hours and the lack of autonomy of a stand-alone spot.

“You have to pay rent, then pay for your share of a marketing plan, and also pay for CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charges, which have become a four-letter word to many vendors,” said Akhtar Nawab, chef of Prospect Heights’Alta Calidad, who has run businesses in four different food halls. “Inexperienced operators don’t know what to look for. There are costs that are hidden.”

Jaskiewicz is convinced the food hall will continue to thrive. “There is no chance that the food hall concept will die,” he said. “But I think that no one can assume that a concept will succeed only because it’s in a food hall.

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