Hibernian owner believes new food court is what Raleigh needs
Posted March 7
Updated March 10
Raleigh, N.C. — A new food court, market and event space is headed to the Warehouse District in downtown Raleigh.
Hibernian Co. owner Niall Hanley announced Monday that the yet-to-be-named project will be located at 411 W. Morgan St. in part of the old Jillian's restaurant complex. The venture is being constructed in a 21,000 square-foot space and is expected to open in spring 2017.
Hanley said his idea is to transform the city’s warehouse district into a food oasis while giving up-and-coming businesses a jump start.
"We are looking forward to it being a great addition to the warehouse district, a connector between downtown neighborhoods and a perfect opportunity for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to be able to conduct business in downtown Raleigh," Hanley said via a press release.
Hanley acknowledges that what he’s about to do is new to Raleigh, but he feels it’s exactly what the city needs.
“The idea is that you’ve got really great food artisans that are vendors in there. So, for people that can’t make up their mind, you can go to a place like this, grab a beer, a glass or wine,” he said.
Hanley expects the indoor food court will have a lot of small vendors including bakers and cheese makers and the hope is to focus on local products.
“We’re going to try to make it mostly North Carolina based so it’s local. You know the food is coming from your neighborhood,” he said.
Hanley, who already owns the Irish pub Hibernian, the nightclub Solas and co-owns Raleigh Beer Garden and The Station on Person Street, said he also plans to have local retail and implement patio dining.
Hanley’s food hall could almost be viewed as an incubation period for businesses and restauranteurs that need a bit of a push.
“I’m still in debt. You know I’ll be in debt for a long time. They are not cheap. You get into these things with everything you have to do, it’s just very expensive to do it,” he said.
Jim Belt, co-founder of the Downtown Living Advocated, welcomes Hanley’s new idea.
“It sits at a great location in terms of where downtown is revitalizing because it’s a connection between the warehouse district and Glenwood south,” he said. “I’ve been here nearly 20 years. The more the merrier. People are going to be drawn because there is a variety.”