What do you call 10 chefs working under one roof? Destin’s first City Food Hall.
Set to open in Destin Commons next spring, City Food Hall will showcase 10 specialty restaurant concepts offering food and drinks, an expansive indoor/outdoor bar, two Topgolf full swing simulators with a variety of multi-sports games, several HDTVs and comfortable lounge seating, according to a news release.
City Food Hall is the brainchild of founders Peter Rounce and Kenzie Motai, who have opened a food hall concept in Miami, New Orleans, Chicago and Jackson, Mississippi, to name a few.
However, they never gave opening one in Destin a thought until they visited the area.
“Destin never stuck out to us on the radar,” Rounce said.
Rounce said they even talked with Destin Commons for the longest time and had no interest.
“Then we got on a plane … flew up to Destin and fell in love,” he said.
After seeing it and being here, “How can we not?” he added.
“It has that small-town charm, but on a higher level. It’s such a warm, welcoming place and we fell in love with it,” said Rounce, who is from a small town in the Bahamas. “So we went from having no interest, to being excited.” .
Rounce says he loves the “whole Destin vibe … the fishing thing, the beach thing. The whole Destin vibe has a lot of synergy with who we are as individuals, which is reflected in our brand.”
His business partner Motai is just as excited. “Absolutely we’re excited to be in Destin Commons. … It’s an amazing destination,” Motai said.
“The concept is really to highlight what the city has to offer under one roof,” he said.
“We always like to work with as many local chefs as possible so we can highlight them,” Motai added.
NOT A MALL FOOD COURT
The food hall will not have national franchise brands.
“We like to find that up-and-coming chef in Destin. One with a food truck or maybe doing pop-ups at a farmer’s market … give them the opportunity,” Motai said.
As a matter of fact, he and Rounce were in town just a few weeks ago and headed to 30A to check out some of the trucks.
“We give them a platform to try their brands out at very little risk,” Motai said.
After the pandemic, it’s expensive to open up a restaurant and sign a long lease. That’s where City Food Hall comes in.
“That’s what makes us unique; everything is set up,” he said.
Motai said they build out a full kitchen in the back and vendors can cook all day long.
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