New York's high-end food halls offer variety, convenience

- The biggest obstacle to starting a successful restaurant in New York is often being able to afford the rent. A solution to that problem is turning into the hottest trend for finding amazing food: food halls have been popping up around town.

The Plaza Hotel's food hall has been a hit since it opened in 2010. Inspired by the great food halls of Europe, Chef Todd English was one of the first New Yorkers to cash in on the lucrative idea of fine dining under one roof.

Now food halls are cropping up all over the city. Gotham West opened a few years ago in Hell's Kitchen. The Business Times calls it one of the best food halls in the world. Another one recently opened in Fort Greene. Also in Brooklyn, DeKalb Market Hall boasts 40 food vendors.

City Acres in the Financial District is billed as half food hall, half market. Multiple food vendors are upstairs. With lots of samples to lure customers, my first stop was Juice Bros. Then I tried a mango roll at Beyond Sushi where everything is vegan. Co-owner Tali Vaknin said no fish is used – everything is made with fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Artichoke Pizza manager Jessie says the secret is making everything with love. No doubt about it, love tastes good.

The Pennsy in Midtown is the newest food hall to offer one-stop shopping. This location is unique because it offers an enormous outdoor beer garden and an indoor bar.  Partner Danny McDonald said the food hall provides convenience to customers.

No matter what you're hungry for, you'll find it here. Taco Dumbo does elevated Mexican food. Owner Brandon Hirsch says opening in a busy location without the expensive overhead of a freestanding store is an entrepreneur's dream.

Looks like food halls are the wave of the future. So many choices, so little time.

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