You see them a lot in the big cities, empty big buildings transformed into trendy covered markets surrounded by the raw environment of the city. An abandoned industrial estate with warehouses and sheds is replaced by temporary or permanent programming. A popular phenomenon in the urban environment is the so-called Food Hall: a form between a market, supermarket, food stalls and restaurants.
Whether it’s market halls where you can buy fresh products in stands or small shops, halls where you can sit at small eateries, or everything in between, they do it well. They are gaining popularity because many specialty shops such as bakers, butchers and greengrocers have disappeared in recent decades. Many food halls are now becoming a kind of multi-specialty store, combined with eateries. The supermarket will not disappear because it still remains necessary for daily groceries.
In large urban areas with a young, hip and wealthy population, these food halls often function excellently. Think of the Markthal in Rotterdam and the Foodhallen in Amsterdam. Also in London you will find many of those food places, such as the Borough Food Market, the Brick Lane Food Hall and Camden Market. Educated young people want to live in the city again. A group that is much more involved with food and drink, and likes to identify with it.
In addition, less well-running concepts can be exchanged faster by others in food halls. There is a lot of space for experiment and research. Trends and developments are going fast. In such empty big industrial buildings you can easily replace dynamic concepts.
The smaller halls are also local successes. Often stationed in the less attractive neighborhoods. A food hall can be a booster function in an area. Take, for example, the Fenix Food Factory in Rotterdam’s Katendrecht, which attracted the trendy young city population to the former disadvantaged neighborhood.
When we lived in the Netherlands, we regularly visited this place during the year. In addition, it is a great place to meet friends and to take your little ones with you, the space inside is huge and clear and at the front and back of the building you find a spacious terrace.
The Fenix Food Factory was set up a few years ago by various entrepreneurs from Rotterdam who shared a passion for food and craft. A culinary hotspot came to life in an old harbor shed in Katendrecht. A place where you can do your shopping, learn how local products are made and to experience traditional flavors while having a tasting, lunch or diner.
In the Fenix Food Factory you can go to 12 different entrepreneurs for various local products from Rotterdam. From locally brewed beer at the Kaapse Brouwers, to fresh vegetable products from the farmer at Rechtstreex. At Jordy’s Bakery you can go for freshly baked sourdough bread and at Cidercider, the first cider store in the Netherlands, you’ll find the tastiest ciders in the Netherlands. Opposite is Firma Bijten, a full-fledged butcher’s shop where you can buy delicious pâté, among other things. You can get cheese at Kaasboerderij Booij and coffee is roasted by Stielman coffee roasting.
The Fenix Food Factory is not only a place to do your groceries, you can also enjoy lunch here. For example with a cheese or meat board, a delicious stew with fries or Moroccan bread with various spreads. In the summer, a sun-drenched outdoor terrace at the front offers a beautiful view of the Maas and the city. In the winter you can take a seat at one of the many picnic tables inside the Factory. Because there is plenty of space, activities and events are regularly organized, like workshops, tastings, live concerts and bbq’s.
Now that we live in London we do miss the Fenix Food Factory a bit. Fortunately London also has enough (covered) markets as described earlier in this post. Of course we will visit Rotterdam from time to time. A visit to the FFF will then certainly not lacking, just like last week when we were back for a couple of days in the Netherlands.
Curious about this culinary hotspot in the beautiful city of Rotterdam? The Fenix Food Factory is open from Tuesday till Sunday and is located at the Veerlaan on Katendrecht. For more information about the entrepreneurs, current opening times, programs and accessibility, please take a look at their website.