Wells Street Market food hall offers unique lunch options

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If you have a hard time making up your mind, your lunch and dinner options in the Loop just multiplied significantly. (WLS)

If you have a hard time making up your mind, your lunch and dinner options in the Loop just multiplied significantly.

A third food hall opened a few weeks ago. This one is at Wacker and Wells directly across the river from the Merchandise Mart.

The real estate developers who were charged with filling the space turned to one of the city's best restaurant architects to design the space, then went out and found 11 vendors - some pre-existing, some brand new - who could fill the space with a diverse range of flavors.

There is something for everyone here, no matter what your preference. Just be sure to come hungry.

With 10 food vendors - and a florist for good measure - the eating options inside the new Wells Street Market at the corner of Wacker and Wells are extensive.

"It's got everything from healthy fare food to deep-fried pierogis and everything in between," said Michael Marsal, whose real estate company helped bring the market to life.

Sit by yourself along a counter, facing the windows, with a group at a table, or even standing, at a communal rectangle. FARE offers some of the healthiest - and tastiest - options here. You choose grains or greens, then a cornucopia of whatever's seasonal.

Tabo Sushi is overseen by local chef Takashi Yagihashi, and it's mainly sushi at the counter - nigiri or maki - or choose a box to take with you back to the office.

Furious Spoon keeps things in the Japanese realm with hot bowls of ramen, assembled before your eyes.

New York's Dos Toros has a respectable burrito and taco kiosk here, as does Pork & Mindy's, where hefty sandwiches and mounds of tater tots dominate the menu.

For a more artisan sandwich, try Tempesta Market's offerings. Most are made nearby, and if you finish the muffaletta, good luck going back to work and not feeling like a nap.

"We wanted it to be approachable, but we wanted it to be elevated. I didn't want you to walk in and see lower-end brands, some things that were super identifiable. So we went about finding fast-casual concepts that we thought would work - serve people quickly," said Marsal.

One of those new concepts is Piggie Smalls, from Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr., who still oversees Purple Pig. It's an ode to his Greek and Italian roots, but the gyros here are a notch or two above your neighborhood Kronos or Grecian Delight option.

The Chow Brothers is another new concept - think overstuffed sandwiches and newfangled pierogis, served with ambitious side dishes. You want to really be ambitious? How about a glass of bubbly with freshly-shucked oysters from the Grand Central Bar in the middle of the space, which sets you up for doughnuts from Firecakes for dessert. Marsal says they're slammed for lunch, less-so for dinner, but it's the afternoons patrons seem to love.

"We actually enjoy the lull in the middle. It's been nice because you start out and you have this big rush to serve - we have over 2,000 people a day coming in - and then you have to serve again at dinner so the stalls actually need time to prep," said Marsal.

In Steve's Extra Course video, he goes back to the Fare stall in the market, and talks about some of the healthy drinks (including beef broth) you can find there.
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In Steve's Extra Course video, he goes back to the Fare stall in the market, and talks about some of the healthy drinks (including beef broth) you can find there.

Wells Street Market
205 W. Wacker Dr.
312-614-4176
http://wsmchicago.com
Related Topics:
foodhungry houndlunchrestaurantrestaurantsLoopChicago
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