May 23, 2024

CPS

Travel Adventure

Saluhall, a New San Francisco Food Hall, Opens This Week

3 min read

Few places in America attract more attention than downtown San Francisco. It was once a symbol of skyscraping tech wealth and has since come to represent some of this country’s most pressing societal problems. Since downtown offices emptied out in the wake of the pandemic, restaurants continue to close, alongside the retail exodus, including the demise of the massive Union Square Macy’s. None of this has stopped an ambitious new food hall from betting big on downtown San Francisco.

Saluhall opens on Market Street on April 11, with a Nordic bakery-café and cooking school, a plant-based burger bar, a soft-serve bar, and several cocktail bars. Plus, five local vendors will sling everything from veggie tacos to spicy noodles throughout the 23,000-square-foot space. It’s an ambitious project from a trio of European players: The new food hall is located next to a new Ikea and is run by sister company Ingka Centres. The operator is Kerb, which also runs Seven Dials Market in London. And they’ve tapped famous entrepreneur Claus Meyer of Noma as the authority on Nordic cuisine. Diners seem excited, with positive local headlines and hype on social media. And what’s not to love? Only an elite few get to try the reindeer brain at Noma, but everyone needs an affordable bookcase from Ikea—and a warm cardamom swirl.

Inside the sprawling new space.Photo by Albert Law. Courtesy of Saluhall.

Even with all these big names in the mix, there’s no avoiding the fact that new restaurants face steep challenges in San Francisco these days. Food halls, specifically, have struggled in this area. The La Cocina Municipal Marketplace in the Tenderloin closed in 2023, after only a couple of years, citing slow pandemic recovery. The Market at 1355 Market Street, formerly known as the Twitter building, is still open but with only a few vendors. Even pre-pandemic, it struggled to entice tech workers from their towers and their free lunches. The new Saluhall is only a few blocks from both The Market and the former La Cocina space. Still, this team feels optimistic about their new project.

“The whole city has been through a tough time since COVID,” says Stéphane Keulian, food and beverage director at Ingka Centres. “But we are very confident.” The team envisions creating a gleaming new destination in the city center, with the Saluhall food hall, Ikea store, and Hej! Workshop coworking space all sitting side by side on Market Street. I recently ventured downtown and peered inside the not-yet-open Saluhall, where diners will soon ride the escalators to multiple levels featuring clean and cheerful Scandinavian design.

As for Meyer, the chef already has quite a few successful projects under his belt. He was responsible for gathering the team that wrote the New Nordic Kitchen Manifesto in 2004—championing local and seasonal cooking from the region—and cofounded Noma in 2003. Meyer stepped back from the restaurant more than a decade ago, but he’s been busy. He owns restaurants, bakeries, and the cooking school Meyers Madhus in Copenhagen.

Pains au cinnamon from Saluhall’s bakery-cafe.Photo by Albert Law. Courtesy of Saluhall.


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