For a group of globetrotting media executives, the essential Boston dining experience looks pretty incredible. Time Out just unveiled the headlining chefs opening up Time Out Market Boston in the Fenway neighborhood this spring, including Tim and Nancy Cushman of O Ya, Tony Maws of Craigie on Main, and Peter Ungár of Tasting Counter—some of the best restaurants in Boston. National restaurateur and Bostonian Michael Schlow is also involved, and Union Square Donuts will bring an outpost to the Fenway. The South End Middle Eastern grill, Anoush’Ella, rounds out the initial announcement of food offerings.
Time Out Market, part of the Samuels & Associate development at 401 Park Drive, will pack in 15 restaurants plus a demonstration kitchen, two bars, and communal seating into 21,500 square feet of the former Landmark Center. Outside, it will have 120 more seats in the warmer months, plus a calendar of cultural programming, and public art.
“It’s clear that in the near future, there won’t be any small cities that won’t have one or two food halls, because that’s the experience people like,” says João Cepeda, president and creative director of Time Out Market. Indeed, Besides Quincy Market, Boston has a few food halls in the Boston Public Market, Bow Market, and more on the way.
Formerly editor of Time Out publications in Portugal, Cepeda created the original Time Out Market in Lisbon in 2014. This year will also see Time Out markets open in Miami; Dumbo, Brooklyn; Chicago; and Montréal. His confidence in the ventures stems from his editorial experience; Time Out has digital publications in more than 300 cities and 58 countries, including in Boston.
“The ‘best-of venue,’ which will last longer than a magazine or a website, has to include aspirational components,” Cepeda says. “What kind of names will still be very strong in a year or so? We can keep eyes on that.”
While Time Out applies this global strategy to all of its projects, “What we do is local. We don’t export anything, apart from the concept and the brand,” Cepeda says. “It’s creating that magical mix where any visitor can spend 30-40 minutes and really have an experience that represents the city.”
That means, for example, there will certainly be a vendor doing lobster rolls and chowder in Boston, just as you’d expect a hot dog kitchen at the forthcoming Chicago market. But the leading edge of the culinary scene will also be represented. Every vendor signs a one-year concession agreement that gets reviewed annually.
“Trends come very quick,” notes Time Out Market CEO Didier Souillat. “We can’t be static, because people get bored.”
The chefs announced today are essentially creating greatest hits-menus for the food hall.
Another way Time Out intends to stand tall among food halls? With its sophistication. Beyond the high-caliber chef lineup, the food hall will have real chinaware and glassware, among other upscale amenities
“We call it the democratization of fine dining,” Souillat says. “What we want are great chefs, and great food, being affordable to everyone.”
Time Out Market will announce more vendors in the coming months. Construction is underway at 401 Park, and the Boston food hall is expected to open in spring 2019.
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