A new food hall from 16” On Center, the team behind the Revival Food Hall in the Loop, will be opening in the Old Post Office sometime next month. Called From Here On, it will be an expansive space in the building’s first-floor lobby, with views of the Chicago River, hosting 11 vendors.
As at Revival, all the vendors at From Here On will be local. They include Tempesta, a sandwich and charcuterie shop; Familiar Bakery; Hot Chi Chicken, a Nashville hot chicken spot from Chatham; Flo’s Kitchen, a family-run restaurant specializing in the food of Durango, Mexico, that originated in a trailer parked behind the owners’ Avondale home; and Millie’s Pancakes, an old-school diner from suburban Addison.
“Chicago is filled with some of the best culinary minds in the world,” says Bruce Finkelman, the managing partner of 16” On Center. “We’re able to take the headaches out of owning a brick-and-mortar and allow them to do what they do best: cooking.”
Like many Chicagoans, Finkelman previously only knew the Post Office as the building so enormous that an entire expressway — I-290 — could run through it. Once the busiest post office in the world (it sorted 19 million pieces of mail per day), it was abandoned by the U.S. Postal Service in 1997 and sat vacant until 2016 when the city undertook an $800 million renovation to transform it into office space; already it’s home to corporate headquarters for PepsiCo, Walgreens, and the Ferrara candy company. When it’s fully occupied, 11,000 people will work there.
From Here On will be large enough to contain all of them. “It’s a football field,” Finkelman jokes. The space will be 18,000 square feet with a cocktail bar called Snorklebox at the center, named after the street boxes that mail gets dropped into. In addition, there will be a 26,000-square-foot patio overlooking the river, accessible from the Riverwalk.
Finkelman envisions From Here On as a sort of office kitchen, where people will gather to chat and eat. “We’re building a community with these properties,” he says. “It’s like what we did with Revival. No one had ever taken the Loop and treated it as a neighborhood.” Part of community building means staying open late, past standard office hours, with DJs, special events, and other programming. (“Pony rides,” Finkelman jokes. “Pin the tail on the donkey.”)
Taking over a historic building has become something of a trademark of 16” On Center — the company previously rehabbed Thalia Hall in Pilsen and is in the process of converting the old Morton Salt warehouse into a music venue called the Salt Shed — but Finkelman is particularly excited to be moving into the Post Office. The name From Here On came out of the experience of driving under the building and emerging to the view of the lake and the city skyline.
“It’s inspirational,” he says. “Especially coming after COVID. From here on, anything can happen. The possibilities are endless.”
From Here On, 433 W. Van Buren Street, scheduled to open early summer.