Kevin Godbee · Oct 30, 2018 · 5 min read
Pinellas County's First Food Hall
Unless you've been living under a lava rock, you may have noticed that food halls are a thing. They are big spaces carved up into a bunch of smaller eateries and retail, kind of like a mall food court, but way cooler with artisan food and drink offerings (instead of fast food - yuk) that attract millennials. A little over a year ago, Eater published; "13 Food Halls That Prove This Trend’s Not Dead Yet"— and said "The number of food halls in the U.S. grew by 37 percent in 2016 — there are now more than 100 of them scattered across the country — and that figure is predicted to double by 2019".
Just two months ago, The Washington Post chimed in with, "Forget food trucks. Now ‘food halls’ are having a moment, and they’re changing the landscape."
The Oxford Exchange was likely the first "food hall" around here before the term was even invented, or at least used in the U.S. They opened in September 2012 with several food and drink offerings, a book store, and gift shop. (There's some great coffee there, and I have a few books from them as well. Whenever I have an overnighter in Tampa, The Oxford Exchange is usually my breakfast stop.) The first Eataly opened in 2007, and they are referred to as a food hall by Wikipedia, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't called that back in 2007, but I could be wrong.
In Florida Trend from last July, we have; "Endless arrays: Food halls are spreading across Florida".
Their section on Tampa Bay tells our area's story well, up until now -
Dueling food halls buzz just north of Tampa’s downtown. The first is the Hall on Franklin, a 1930s commercial building now lined with fish-camp seafood, banh mi sandwiches and bao buns, gooey melts, waffles and flatbreads. Service is a refined format: Scout the vendors, order, find a table and servers bring food, drinks and bill.
Three blocks away is the old Armature Works factory on the river, now a vast mall of old brick, exposed steel, high ceilings, blazing graphics tables (and sofas) for a thousand eager diners. The menu includes wine and coffee bars and small dishes of all stripes.
More inventive dining is coming with a beer garden and chefrun pop-ups in shipping containers in Tampa’s Channelside. There’s also a new communal spot from the Oxford Exchange folks at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s complex in St. Pete.
Now, Pinellas County finally joins the party with the opening of The Artisan - Art & Food Collective in the laid back town of Gulfport, Florida. The Artisan offers four individual eateries, plus full liquor bar, pool tables, indoor and outdoor seating, full table service / wait staff, and you can even make reservations by calling or using OpenTable.
(There's talk of more food halls coming in St. Pete, so watch this space, and subscribe to our newsletter below.)
The Artisan's main entrance lands you into a large room that is The Gallery with lots of artwork on the walls (for looking or buying), plush couches, elegant chandeliers, along with tables and chairs where you can relax, order your food, read a book, and take your Instagram pics. To the right, inside of The Gallery, is The Lure, and next to that is The Bakery. Going further in, there is The Port, which is the indoor / outdoor bar with pool tables and bar bites. Finally, we have Whiskey Grill, a full fledged steakhouse with small, medium, and large plates, including a 48 oz. bone-in tomahawk ribeye, named "The Thor" in tribute to the late Richard Thor Alday, former partner in the business.
From the newly launched website -
Enjoy works of art – on the canvas, on the plate and on the rocks! The Artisan offers a feast for your senses, bringing a restaurant, bar, art gallery and bookstore all under one roof (or under the stars on the back patio complete with a peaceful waterfall) to Gulfport’s charming waterfront community. This is Pinellas County’s first foray into the popular “food hall” concept, where you can enjoy a variety of taste sensations within steps. Amazing entrees, scrumptious baked goods, mouthwatering sushi, giant steaks, fresh seafood, craft cocktails and brews, and other delights await!
Seasoned restaurateurs Tom Golden (The Lure, The Kitchen at Green Springs and Vintage) and Michael Stewart (717 South and Ava), The Lure St. Pete’s Chef Kevin Bell, Chef Jackielyn Rivers to assist with the bakery and local artist David Boyd are all collaborating to bring this art and food collective to life. Pool tables and live local bands round out the entertainment offerings for a truly handcrafted, one-of-a-kind experience.
The Lure’s first location opened in January 2016 in downtown St. Pete on Central Ave. The second location in Tampa opened in November 2017. Now, we have the third location at The Artisan in Gulfport.
If you haven't been, they have great sushi, poké bowls, tapas, tacos and flatbreads. There are tiki drinks and cocktails. Every Lure location has free-to-use pool tables as well.
The Bakery serves fresh daily cookies, muffins, croissants, biscuits, cakes, and desserts including bread pudding, and even creme brûlée.
The Port is the indoor / outdoor bar with free pool tables, and Bar Food including sandwiches & finger foods. The "Damn Good Burger" lives up to its name for sure. It is an 8oz fresh-pressed burger topped with white cheddar and smoked maple pepper bacon on a brioche bun. Served with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle.
A couple of items at The Whiskey Grill include, the BRUUUUUUUCE - Boneless short ribs bites topped with onion straws and a shitake demi glace, and the Hayden - 3 Pan seared sea scallops over a chilled Mediterranean cous cous with a pepper jelly drizzle.
There's lots more to discover at The Artisan - Art & Food Collective, so get on over to Gulfport, and check it out! Menus are below. Make a reservation right here.
Make a reservation right now, and tell them that St. Petersburg Foodies sent you!
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- The Artisan Gulfport - Art & Food Collective
- Sushi, Steakhouse, Bar Food
- Tue - Thu 4:00pm - 10:00pm
- Fri - 4:00pm - 12:00am
- Sat - 11:30am - 12:00am
- Sun - 11:30am - 10:00pm
- Take Reservations: Yes!
- 2832 Beach Blvd South, Gulfport, FL 33707, US
Enjoy works of art – on the canvas, on the plate and on the rocks! The Artisan offers a feast for your senses, bringing a restaurant, bar, art gallery and bookstore all under one roof (or under the stars on the back patio complete with a peaceful waterfall) to Gulfport’s charming waterfront community.