BY MARIE PULEO | POMPANO BEACH NEWS REPORTER
The Bite Eatery is set to become a new hot spot for dining in Pompano Beach. Construction is underway to transform an approximately 9,000-square-foot space in The Harbor Village Shops into The Bite Eatery, which will be the first-ever food hall in Pompano Beach.
Located at 2715 E. Atlantic Boulevard, the food hall will feature nine restaurant vendors and one full-service bar, all under one roof.
The food hall should be ready to open in late summer 2021, according to Jessica Gollel of Gollel Family Properties, the owner and developer of The Bite Eatery. Gollel Family Properties acquired the vacant space in The Harbor Village Shops in 2019, and is doing a full rebuild of the interior.
The vendor units will be along the east and west walls of the food hall, and the central area will be for the bar and seating. There will be 209 indoor seats, including 37 seats around the bar. There will also be 58 outdoor seats.
The bar will be the main source of beverages, including soft drinks, wine, beer and liquor. Vendors will be able to supply the bar with any of their specialty drinks.
One of the vendors that will have a space in The Bite Eatery is Casareccio, which specializes in Sicilian cuisine. Casareccio already has a restaurant in Pompano Beach, and may operate under a different name at the food hall.
Another vendor, The Raw Bar, will be operated by a new chef who has a focus on fresh local seafood.
There will also be a donut shop featuring handcrafted artisan donuts, specialty dessert pastries, gelato and coffee.
Leases are still being accepted for vendor spaces. Each vendor space will be 380 to 420 square feet.
Gollel said that getting a Mexican restaurant in the food hall is “high on her list.” She would also like to add Asian, barbecue and burgers to the mix.
Once a lease is signed for a specific restaurant category, no other restaurant that has the same type of menu will be able to lease a space.
“We don’t want any type of competition or the same menu items on two different menus,” explained Gollel.
Gollel said the food hall is ideal for current or previous restaurant owners, food truck operators and caterers who want to expand their businesses, or up and coming chefs who want to start one.
The Bite Eatery allows vendors to provide a full-service restaurant at a fraction of the cost of opening a store front restaurant, said Gollel. In addition, “marketing opportunities are much more intensive,” because they’re sharing the food hall with nine other vendors that are also marketing their space.
The vendor is only in charge of the food they cook and the staff needed for their unit.
The Bite Eatery will provide plates, cutlery, food runners, bussers, dishwashing, cleaning services, furniture, restrooms, maintenance, a bar manager and floor managers, which takes a huge burden off the vendors, said Gollel.
The vendors can also benefit from the food hall’s location, which is “perfect” because it’s a short distance from the beach and is in an area of the city that is being redeveloped and revitalized, said Gollel.
Operating amid COVID-19, the food hall will have personnel dedicated to keeping everything sanitized, said Gollel.
A point of sale technology will be provided at each of the tables. Patrons will be able to scan a QR (Quick Response) code with their smartphone, and then browse menu items from all the restaurants, place their order and pay, right from their table. The order goes directly to the vendor’s computer, then the order is prepared, and a runner brings it to the table. Patrons will also be able to order food the traditional way of going up to the counter.
For patrons who don’t want to eat on the premises, the food hall will also offer pick-up and delivery options.
The food hall’s anticipated opening hours are weekdays from 9am to 10pm. The weekends will have extended hours till about 12am for both the bar and vendors that choose to stay open. There will be brunch on the weekends, with bottomless simosas.
There are plans for live music from local artists in a variety of genres, probably only on the weekends. There will be a stage and small area for dancing.
Gollel would like to host small events at the food hall, such as exhibits of local artists. Other ideas include taco Tuesdays, a bingo night and karaoke night.
The décor will have a nautical theme to tie in with the Hillsboro Inlet, the lighthouse and the Pompano pier.
“We’re trying to keep it light and airy and open, because there’s going to be a lot going on in there,” said Gollel. “We want to keep the focus on the food.”
The concept of opening a food hall was inspired by a college semester Gollel spent in Florence, Italy. While there, her favorite place to eat was the Mercato Centrale, a food hall with about 12 vendors. It was the first food hall she’d ever been to.
“I could go to the same location and have something new every time,” said Gollel. “It was always full of people and really had a community feel. I loved it and wanted to create something like that.”
When her family acquired the space in The Harbor Village Shops, she said: “Let’s just try this.” And they took off with the idea.
Gollel is working on The Bite Eatery with her father Richard Gollel – who founded Gollel Family Properties – and her brothers Richard and Michael. The family lives in the Hillsboro Shores neighborhood of Pompano Beach, just a 5-minute drive from the food hall.
The Bite Eatery will be the second food hall to open in Broward County, following the Sistrunk Marketplace, which opened recently in Fort Lauderdale.
“Food halls are definitely a popular concept popping up,” said Gollel. “Developers and restaurant groups really like them because they are beneficial for each party involved.”
What About Parking?
The City anticipates the need for additional parking for The Harbor Village Shops once The Bite Eatery opens. A plan is being considered to reconstruct the City’s existing right-of-way on NE 1st Street, just north of the shopping center, to try to accommodate up to 143 perpendicular parking spaces. The project, which is very early in the planning process, would cost approximately $1 million and could be budgeted for the next fiscal year, according to city officials.
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