Food Halls are all the rage these days, and it seems like the Twin Cities are jumping into the action.
For years, the O.G.s on the scene have included Hmongtown Marketplace in St. Paul, Mercado Central in South Minneapolis, and Midtown Global Market just down the block.
But in recent years, Twin Cities developers have taken advantage of the craze with lots trendier, more upscale options.
First it was Keg and Case, which revitalized the old Schmidt keghouse in St. Paul. Then it was the Truck Park down the street near the Xcel Energy Center, and a few months later, Graze opened a rooftop food hall in the North Loop, followed by another gourmet food hall called the North Loop Galley.
Or maybe it all in was the opposite order – the food hall blitz happened so fast that it’s hard to remember.
And now, after much hype and anticipation, there’s yet another challenger to the scene of seemingly unlimited dining options under one room.
It’s called The Market at Malcolm Yards, and it’s part of an ongoing redevelopment project to Minneapolis’s Propspect Park neighborhood that dates all the way back to the opening of Surly’s $20 million dollar mega taproom in 2005.
The Market promises nearly a dozen craft food vendors under one roof, a wall of tap beer and other alcoholic beverages, and plenty of historic charm.
And that’s all it took to tempt us!
So, like any self-respecting food bloggers, we found ourselves knocking on the brand new front door of Malcolm Yards, right on opening day! (We barely even made it to lunch, instead getting there so early that it’d be generous to call it brunch.)
The Market at Malcolm Yards is located in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, with the nearest landmark being Surly Brewing. (I’d call it a stone’s throw away, but you’d have to have quite the arm to reach it. Regardless, Surly is definitely within viewing and walking distance.)
Thanks to the redevelopment project, it’s an up-and-coming area that’s also next door to the soon-to-open O’Shaughnessy Distilling Company, plus more newly developed condos and apartment complexes than you can imagine.
As far as The Market itself, it sits in the charming old Harris Machinery Company Building, and that’s a fact you can’t miss.
Pulling up The Market looks like you’re about to tour an urban ruin. The massive brick building is an imposing structure, and it’s dotted with both historic rubble and sate of the art signage – a new vs. old theme that seems to be at the root of the entire project.
As we walked into opening day of the market, we were given the rundown.
You check into the hostess stand (you can’t miss it) and immediately swipe your credit card. This opens your tab, and in exchange, you’re given a new plastic card that’s good at any of the many vendors inside.
And boy, are there vendors…
On our visit, the opening list included:
Abang Yoli – an Asian fusion approach that promises to “meld elements of Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, and Japan.”
Advellum – a vegatable eatery with all sorts of salads, veggie bowls, and even a few vegetarian burgers and the like.
Bagu Sushi – a sushi/shashimi spot that seems to specialize in hand rolls.
Bebe Zito – an ice cream shop that took Uptown by storm when it opened last year (and also won our personal vote for the best ice cream in the Twin Cities). The big news here though is that they’re not only offering their incredible ice cream, but Malcolm Yards will also become Bebe Zito’s new permanent home for their hugely popular cheeseburger, which to this point was just a weekend popup at their Uptown location.
Boxcar Bar – a full size bar that promises a long list of craft cocktails. This vendor takes up more real estate than any other spot.
Del Sur Empanadas – an iconic food truck that’s been roaming the Twin Cities streets for years, and recently moved into a brick and mortar location out in Minnetonka. The owners were born in Argentina and ensure all empanadas are authentic and homemade.
Joey Meatballs – a make your own pasta bar. Choose your pasta, sauce, protein, and cheese, then dig in!
Momo Dosa – an Indian/Nepali street food vendor. As the name implies, they specializes in Momos (steamed potstickers/dumplings with authentic fillings) and Dosa (crepes/pancakes served with chutney).
Sunday – an interesting mix of charcuterie and Japanese sandwiches.
The Beer Wall – it’s exactly what it sounds like. A huge wall of pour-your-own tap beer, featuring maybe 40 different options from all over the country.
Wrecktangle Pizza – a long time North Loop spot specializing in “Detriot Style” pizza (rectangular in shape with a thick, chewy crust)
Our First Experience
I’ll be honest. We came here on a mission.
After falling in love with Del Sur Empanads years ago during St. Paul’s Summer Food Truck Festival, we knew their Malcolm Yards location would be a frequent stop for us.
And as shameless fanboys/girls of Bebe Zito, we knew we’d be giving their elusive burger its first taste, and of course finishing with some delicious ice cream. Because how could we not?
But we first spent some time browsing the vendors and exploring the space. Which is huge by the way, and surprisingly busy even during what was basically breakfast on opening day.
The whole atmosphere is awesome. The historic machine shop just oozes with character, thanks to the thoughtful decision to leave all that industrial-urban character in tact.
They even left the graffiti!
Through the entire market, floors shine with polished concrete, the walls give an industrial brickhouse vibe, and the high ceilings with exposed wood-beams feel like history crashed into a modern food hall.
In the spirit of the celebration, we grabbed some drinks (at an embarrassingly early time of day) from Boxcar Bar. Yours truly went with a Bloody Mary, while Lily grabbed a Mojito.
My Bloody Mary was fantastic. In fact, it was so good that I immediately had to reign in temptations to explore the entire cocktail menu, right then and there.
Lily shared similar praise about her Mojito.
Del Sur Empenadas
We actually ordered the Bebe Zito burger first, but they told us it’d be a short wait. So, taking full advantage of the food hall set up, we just walked right over to Del Sur Empanadas and ordered some food before our food!
At Del Sur, we grabbed the grabbed the beef empenada, chorizo empenada, and mushroom empenada. I was a little disappointed to see no ham & cheese empenada on the menu, since I can vouch from experience that it’s out of the world. (And actually the first empenada that started my endless love for this place so many years ago)
No worries though, it was opening day, and we’ve since confirmed with the owners that the ham & cheese is usually available.
In any case, all the emepanadas were fantastic, as expected. (For the curious, the beef was my favorite.)
Bebe Zito Burger
In short, everything it’s hyped up to be.
This baby… excuse me… “bebe” is big, juicy, and cheesy. The thousand-island-like sauce is probably the most unique part about it, which gives the burger a perfectly sweet character that complements the hefty load of pickles well.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… the Twin Cities burger scene continues to be one of, if not THE, best in the country.
Bebe Zito Ice Cream
Not much we need to say here…
It’s the same great stuff from their Uptown location, and it’s still by far the best in the city, IMO.
Final Thoughts on Malcolm Yards
Overall, Malcolm Yards is without question one of the coolest, most unique food halls in the city.
We’ll judge it on three main categories:
- Food: The food choices are exceptional. They’ve brought some seriously established heavy hitters along with some lesser known, up and coming shops.
- Drink: Both a massive beer selection and an impressive cocktail selection.
- Vibe: Truly historic atmosphere that you can’t fake, with plenty of space for the inevitable massive crowds that will gather to this sure-to-be hit.
All in all, The Market at Malcolm yards is a home run in our book.
We’re already planning our next event here, and we can’t wait to try even more of the options!
501 30th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414