These concepts are poppin’

Food trucks. Food halls. Pop-ups. Concepts within concepts.

Some of the most interesting new food and drink businesses are sidestepping independent brick-and-mortar locations and opening in mobile or co-located spots.

It’s a trend that had been brewing before the pandemic, and has continued since then.

Take Lotus Lounge, a new concept opening soon inside Soji: Modern Asian. Soji’s current entrance and bar is being renovated to accommodate the Polynesian-inspired tiki bar.

“We want it to feel separate from Soji, with its own hours and menu,” owner Chase Lyons says. “But the two concepts are complementary. You’ll see influences of both places on each menu.”

Elsewhere, we saw City Taco, a concept developed by City Group Hospitality, open within City Slice. Social Coffee took residence inside Chow Yum Phat.

Moreover, numerous food entrepreneurs launched cottage baking and catering businesses and introduced new ideas through food trucks, proof that concepts can get into the game with minimal initial investment.

And while the city’s second food hall, White Star Market, closed last spring, its influence remains palpable. Former tenants Gov’t Taco, Rêve Coffee, Chow Yum Phat and ThaiHey Thai Food all used their exposure in the space to springboard to permanent locations.

This article was originally published in the November 2021 issue of 225 magazine.

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