First Look: The Food Hall at City Foundry STL

A few weeks ago, we reported that after years of gestation, City Foundry STL’s food hall would finally be going live this month. As of today, Wednesday, Aug. 11, its doors are officially open. Niche Food Group co-owner Gerard Craft acted as consultant for the project; his concepts The Kitchen Bar and Fordo’s Killer Pizza will be part of a second round of openings that will come in the fall.

Most of the concepts here come from previously well-known businesses and restaurateurs. Kalbi Taco Shack left its original location on Cherokee St. to offer its Asian-Mexican food at the Foundry; Poptimism sees Whisk owners finding a permanent home for their spin-off ice pop concept; the team behind Polite Society and The Bellwether have a new concept in breakfast/crepe spot Good Day and have found a real home for ghost kitchen sandwich concept Sub Division Sandwich Co. Popular Indian restaurant Turmeric has a new space here, as does Patty’s Cheesecakes, who previously operated out of The Baker’s Hub in Chesterfield.

But there’s one new face at the Foundry that seems to be coming out of left field: Ali Thiam, who aims to bring his Senegalese cuisine to the St. Louis community in the form of Chez Ali's. “African food is kind of missing in St. Louis,” Thiam explained. “This is hopefully the beginning of some franchising.”’ He pointed out that while he cooks with a lot of powerful spices, he hopes locals will enjoy what he’s doing. Thiam previously cooked at Chez Mathy, which he said he hopes to turn into a second Chez Ali's space; prior to that, after moving to the United States in 1999, he lived in New York City doing retail until 2013. “Believe it or not, I taught myself how to cook,” he said, laughing. Now, he will offer up dishes like Yassa chicken, jollof rice, fried plantains and samosas to Foundry patrons.

The City Foundry’s food hall will open at 8 a.m. every day, though vendors will keep their own individual hours of operation. A second wave of openings this fall will bring further new options like Craft’s two spots, Nate Hereford’s Chicken Scratch, a mysterious concept called Intergalactic Burgers, and numerous others, at which point the food hall should have around 20 restaurants.

Check out the slideshow below for more about what you can expect from the City Foundry’s food hall.