Big food hall news: British media company Time Out is planning to open a version of its gourmet food hall Time Out Market in downtown Montreal next year.
The company dropped a press release with the news Wednesday morning setting a late 2019 opening date for a 36,000 square food food hall. It will be similar in style to the existing Time Out Market in Lisbon, Portugal, which put together 26 restaurants and eight bars under one roof near the city’s waterfront. It’s been a major success — according to the company, some 3.6 million people visited, and Time Out claims that it’s “the country’s most popular attraction”.
Montreal’s will be a little smaller, with 16 restaurants, two bars, and a few other miscellaneous spaces. While the Lisbon version stands more or less alone, Montreal’s will be housed in the Eaton Centre — perhaps less of a gem-like location than Lisbon’s large plot of river-adjacent land, or the Time Out planned for New York City, right alongside the waterfront and the Brooklyn Bridge. It will be operated in conjunction with real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge, which runs the Eaton Centre.
This would be a major departure from the current norm for the downtown mall — just like in Portugal, Montreal’s Time Out Market will focus on bringing in food hall versions of local restaurants — it’s far too early to say who those vendors will be (Joe Beef food stand, anybody?), but it certainly won’t be run of the mill, chain-driven food court fare that is currently standard downtown. In cities like Miami, Time Out has been relatively successful in getting prominent local chefs to sign on — the success of the concept more or less hinges on being able to do that.
This isn’t the first expansion for Time Out’s market concept — markets are set to open in New York and Miami this year, and Boston and Chicago next year. In a rare coup, Montreal — not Toronto — will be the first Canadian location. Most expansions were announced in the last six months.