While the rest of the country has Eataly and Grand Central Market and Pike Place Market, Austin has been anxiously awaiting a food hall of its own. Well, it's finally here: Fareground is the first of its kind in the Texas capital, a downtown dining destination that houses multiple vendors, a bar and plenty of seating to sit and take it all in. It's home to a few offshoots of Austin's best restaurants, but before we introduce the vendors, let's break down some basics.
Fareground is located at 111 Congress Avenue, in the subterranean level and plaza of One Eleven at the corner of Congress Ave and Second St. Coming in from the street, you might first notice the sprawling patio that serves as a comfortable place to eat, drink and chill on a nice day. Inside the Michael Hsu-designed space, you'll find a semi-circle of vendors curated by the ELM Restaurant Group and anchored by Fareground Bar in the middle—the latest addition to downtown's bar scene, and helmed by ELM's beverage director (and master somm) Craig Collins. Wine and cocktails (everything from French 76s to Bloody Marys) are all available. A second bar—this one located at street level—is still in the works.
This is the second location of Antonelli's Cheese Shop, Austin's premiere store for top-notch fromage and cheese classes. At the Fareground location, you can choose both take-home and dine-in options from the vendor's expansive selection of cheese and charcuterie, as well as soups, sandwiches (grilled cheese, of course), raclette, an insanely good mac and cheese dish and more. There's also a daily cheese board that brings customers on a journey through cheese regions—a trip we'd all like to take, thanks.
As a more casual offshoot of the Contigo we all know and love, Contigo at Fareground still offers their beloved burger and crispy green beans, but there are some stellar additions as well. Locally sourced rotisserie chicken is available for dine-in or take-out, as are breakfast bowls, wings (try the dry kimchi rub) and veggie burgers. For dessert, savor a hand pie with pecan, cocoa and cream.
You know Dai Due for its hyperlocal fare, especially when it comes to expertly butchered meats. Chef Jesse Griffiths partnered with chef Gabe Erales for this new concept, which focuses on tacos and tortas with locally sourced game. Think wild boar al pastor and bison picadillo, tortillas made in-house and meat roasting on a trompo. Dai Due Taqueria has mastered the churro game too, so stick around for dessert.
Easy Tiger is a household name for Austinites, so it's no surprise that the bakery has landed at the food hall selling pastries, sandwiches, pretzels and that beer cheese we're all addicted to. Pretzel sandwiches are making an appearance, as are pirogis and bread baskets. While there isn't any beer sold at their Fareground shop, Easy Tiger sells coffee here—perfect for pairing with a spiced Tiger Claw.
Henbit comes to Fareground from the team behind Emmer & Rye: Kevin Fink, Page Pressley, and Tavel Bristol-Joseph. With a focus on local ingredients, the menu here caters to both the breakfast and lunch crowd. Start with morning munchies like breakfast bowls, kolaches and white Sonora wheat breakfast burritos; if you're here for a lunch break, opt for spaghetti squash salad or sourdough sandwiches. Sip on juice from Juice Society, coffee from Tiny House, and shrub sodas, all of which you can enjoy on Fareground's sunny outdoor patio.
In the mood for sushi and ramen? Ni-Komé is your one-two spot, a vendor serving sushi, sashimi and piping hot bowls of ramen. It's no wonder—the restaurant is a mashup of husband-and-wife Kayo and Take Asazu's Komé and Daruma Ramen. Come in during lunch or dinner hours for a combination plate (nigiri selections and sushi rolls); signature rolls like the Go Go roll featuring BBQ eel; and shio, shoyu, miso and veggie ramen. Mochi ice cream for the road? Why not.