Bar Business February 2020

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This venue features a bar, over a dozen vendors, and unique experiences.


Bar Business Magazine

February 2020

ood halls have exploded in popularity the last few years, which should come as no surprise in an industry that values experiences over all else. The demand for unique and engaging experiences is driven primarily by millennials, and food halls check off many of their requirements—quality food, live entertainment, activities and games, and a great place to gather. According to a report from Cushman & Wakefield, there were over 300 food halls in the United States in 2019. In 2020, that number is projected to go above 400. When Entrepreneur & CEO James Markham opened Windmill Food Hall in Carlsbad, California at the end of 2019, he was looking to add his own spin to this burgeoning trend. After researching and visiting public markets across the country, Markham’s mission was to turn an empty 1,200-square-foot space in a historic Dutch-style windmill building into a fun, eclectic, and unconventional vintage-inspired food hall with over 12 local vendors. The location was

previously a Pea Soup Andersen’s, a restaurant chain known for its pea soup, home-style meals, and working windmills attached to the restaurants. “I really wanted to bring something cool to North County, San Diego. The space was ideal for bringing something big and exciting,” says Markham. “People want variety and a place to gather. Windmill is both.” To get the project started, Markham contacted Allison Whitt, principal owner of Design X Architecture + Interiors, a design firm specializing in offices and bars and restaurants. In her design work, Whitt enjoys focusing on not only her clients’ experience in working with her, but also the experience of the patron who will ultimately use the space. So even though this was her first food hall project, she was uniquely positioned to bring Markham’s vision to life. “That is what drives me as a designer—your experience in a space,” says Whitt, explaining that a space can even affect how the food is perceived. “There are so many different design

All Photos: Haley Hill Photography.