Back then, the term “food hall” was still largely alien to many Americans. It belonged to Britain, to describe the section of a department store where one might buy tins of loose-leaf tea and Christmas hampers, or pause for a glass of champagne.
In its wake, the American food hall flourished, and took on a life of its own. Some included butcher shops, or bakeries, or kitchen-supply stores. Others focussed solely on prepared food, such as bánh-mì sandwiches or tacos, served over the counter by local venders. A dominant aesthetic emerged: exposed ductwork, cement floors, subway tile, and long, wooden communal dining tables."