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Can Chicago sustain an all-vegan food hall in Uptown? Running any type of food hall is challenging thanks to inflation, consumer spending habits, and profit margins.
The owners of XMarket hope that vegans will support the venue, just off DuSable Lake Shore Drive’s Montrose exit. It debuted last week with six restaurants.
The food hall is inside XMarket’s vegan grocery store, which the parent company — PlantX — calls the world’s largest vegan store. It opened in summer 2022. The food hall lineup includes Chicago names already known among local vegans.
- Kitchen 17, known for years for its vegan deep-dish pies in Lakeview before moving to Avondale, has unveiled a stall serving thin-crust pies.
- Bloom Plant-Based Kitchen, a pandemic pivot from Rodolfo Cuadros, the James Beard-reconized chef from Amaru in Wicker Park, has unveiled a sushi counter without the fish. It’s an alternative to Planta Queen and will serve omakase.
- Kale My Name, which has locations in Albany Park and LA, brings its soups, wraps, and salads to the food hall.
- El Hongo Magico, a vegan caterer that’s focused on tacos with mushrooms, is debuting with food from a chef, Michael Flores, who has worked at restaurants like S.K.Y. in Pilsen and Boka.
- Chicago Not Dogs is a street food vendor that has ping-ponged between Chicago and San Diego has a stall with veganized versions of hot dogs and Italian beef.
- 2d Restaurant, the Lakeview cafe with a remarkable black and white comic book-style design, slings plant-based pastries and coffee.
PlantX is a Canadian company that was focused on eCommerce and is now branching into physical stores with locations in Venice, California, and outside of Vancouver.
Walk through the Chicago space below.
XMarket food hall, 804 W. Montrose, open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Does Uptown have enough of population density to support a food hall?