Another day, another announcement about a new sprawling food hall.
Olly Olly Market is a new destination scheduled to open on the ground floor of the Starrett-Lehigh Building at 601 West 26th Street by 12th Avenue in Chelsea on October 26.
Let’s start with the name of the space, which draws on nostalgia by reminding us of the children’s phrase “Olly Olly oxen free,” which was used in games like hide and seek. “Typically followed by the call to action, ‘come out! Come out, wherever you are!’ A phrase that we think encompasses the fun, excitement and welcomeness we want our marketplace to embody,” explains Bruce Finkelman, the managing partner of 16’’ on Center, the Chicago-based hospitality collective behind the project.
Food-wise, the hall hopes to distinguish itself from the myriad of others that pepper the city's culinary scene by highlighting international foods created by Michelin-starred chefs alongside offerings by up-and-coming personalities. These include Sicilian-style pan pizzas by Chicago chef Noah Sandoval at Pizza Friendly Pizza; a popular scallion pancake burrito with slow-roasted peril, fried queso blanco, guacamole and lemongrass chili crisp oil by Forsyth Fire Escape; Mexican street food by Ploo and a new fast-casual Italian rotisserie concept by Andrew LoPresto and Bruno Molfetta of Pen'n'Coop.
Perhaps most notable, though, are the 17,000-square-foot space's non-gastronomic-related offerings. In fact, Olly Olly Market will also be home to a 5,000-square-foot exhibition space that is currently hosting the "Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure" exhibit. The event area can accommodate up to 500 people and the owners hope for it to eventually become the site of different art installations, fashion shows and concerts.
The hall as a whole has also been decked out in a way that clearly points to the staff's hope of becoming a go-to art destination. A massive installation of sculpted wood and colorful graphics frames the various vendor booths, for example, while other multimedia pieces by fine artist Jeremiah Jones are spread across the rest of the destination.
As far as food halls go, we’re excited that Olly Olly Market is at least positioning itself to be a bit more than the numerous other similar takes on the form that seems to have become the modus operandi across the five boroughs.