The food hall Crossroads Collective opens on Monday, Dec. 17, and it has the makings of something transformative for the corner of Farwell and North (2238 N. Farwell Ave.). The micro hall debuts with six local vendors (room for two more), a central bar and a speakeasy. There’s also an oyster bar to come. It’s considered micro because it’s less than 10,000 square feet.
The food hall is a phenomenon in cities around the country, to the point of saturation – I’ve been to several in Orange, California, that typified the casual, indoor-outdoor lifestyle. The beauty of them is the diversity of dining options all in one place, particularly welcome when you’re with a group of friends. In contrast to food “courts” riddled with fast food options, food halls are often a showcase for local flavors. Crossroads Collective meets that definition.
The space offers seating for just under 100 people; the hours are daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (The vendors have a little wiggle room in terms of hours, opening, if they choose to, at 11 a.m. and closing at 9 p.m.) Crossroads’ central bar stocks beer, wine and mixed drinks. The vendors sell their own nonalcoholic beverages as well.
The speakeasy, Shanghai, will make its appearance toward the end of opening week. It’ll offer rare Japanese whiskeys and high-end cocktails, among other things, with a design that’s “gasp-worthy,” says Crossroads’ developer Tim Gokhman, of New Land Enterprises. It’s small and not exactly obvious. “If you can navigate Black Cat Alley, you can find it,” he says.
The Crossroads vendors:
A soup-sandwich shop offering four soups, including tomato bisque, pork pozole and chicken chili verde. The sandwiches: chicken tinga torta, grilled vegetable and goat cheese, shrimp roll, ginger-soy pork tenderloin banh mi, and duck duo po’ boy. It’s a sister restaurant (with a very different menu) of Tess Restaurant on Bartlett Avenue.
The Middle Eastern menu features pita sandwiches, salads and bowls. The owners also operate a food truck and a restaurant in Thiensville.
The Laughing Taco
The third location, it offers the same menu as the flagship Walker’s Point location. That means tacos such as slow-roasted marinated pork, chopped steak, and seasoned cactus in a mild chile sauce.
The vegan place with a larger, counter-service location on Commerce Street offers plant-based crepes, panini, etc.
Heaven’s Table BBQ
Specializing in smoked brisket and ribs and accoutrements.
Scratch Ice Cream
Flavors like Door County cherry, mint chip brownie, dirt cake and butter pecan are available by the pint at local retailers (Cermak, Woodman’s, Sendik’s). Crossroads features Scratch as a scoop-to-order shop.