Woodbine Food Hall & Rooftop Bar
Food: Interviews & Features
The brand new Woodbine Food Hall & Rooftop Bar lives adjacent to Salt Lake’s downtown energy, huddled in the aspirational Granary District. Woodbine is far enough away from the immediate downtown bustle to be quiet and quaint. Woodbine is part of an apparent movement in American dining culture back to more gathering spaces, perhaps a direct tether to the isolation and lack of community suffered over the past two-plus years and an innate desire to reconvene and “break bread” in more old-world informed fashions. Recent examples, such as Hall Pass and Salt & Olive, have also popped up, and the hall model itself has been thriving in larger cities for some time now.
“When all of our permanent furniture gets here, we’ll have a grand opening in September.”
The building itself was once home to beloved food purveyors Rico and was purchased by Max Coreth three years ago. Woodbine was co-founded by Coreth along with former La Caille colleagues Zach Howa and Ryan Reich. Howa relates the origin story of Woodbine: “We were sitting down to dinner a few years back and Max asked me if I wanted to open a food hall with him. So we started … and COVID-19 hit. We were shooting to open last August … We worked together to make a space to bridge the gap from the West to East side—whether you’re a banker or construction worker, you can belong here,” says Howa.
The food hall design has been gaining popularity in cities on the East Coast and Pacific Northwest. “I think looking at coworking spaces lately says something—you can meet all your friends here, you can come down here and work for hours. People want to be back out and together,” says Howa. Woodbine’s main hall is a massive space with vendors coexisting as separate services with unique culinary footprints. The dining experience exists differentiated from similar venues in Salt Lake thus far. “All of our in-house restaurants are local, [and] some are first or second locations. It’s a step after a food truck but more of a safety net than a standalone brick and mortar,” Howa says.
Woodbine currently houses five partnering restaurants: 3 Cups Coffee, Mozz Artisan Pizza, Deadpan Sandwich, Yakuza Ramen and a culinary friend’s upcoming taco eatery called Querubin & The Taco Lady. A total of nine spaces will ultimately unite in Woodbine Food Hall. “I’m in talks with an empanada place, so there’s three other spaces left. The five we’ve already got are the ones I really wanted,” he says with a chuckle. “Our pizza place [Mozz] already had quite a following! Someone came from Provo saying they’d always wanted to have a beer with their pizza—they drove here just to finally do that.”
Woodbine’s appeal goes beyond the bacchanalia of delicious options within. The entrance sports a towering living plant wall lit with their logo. “‘Woodbine’ means the conjoining of two vines, we found out after putting this wall in, which feels fitting,” says Howa. He points to the soaring ceiling rebuilt with massive seismic beams to integrate and uphold the original edifice. Most of the internal, new woodwork was crafted locally by The Furniture Joint. Howa and his partners clearly gave an abundance of care to make Woodbine something rather remarkable. A soft opening occurred in mid-July, and the Woodbine team hopes to have a more official affair in short order. “When all of our permanent furniture gets here, we’ll have a grand opening in September,” Howa says.
“We worked together to make a space to bridge the gap from the West to East side—whether you’re a banker or construction worker, you can belong here.”
As for the near future for Woodbine Food Hall, “In the next six months, we’ll have a couple of new tenants, some pop-up markets and art events on our covered, heated patio. Hopefully, this can really be the anchor point for the development of this area,” Howa says. Woodbine is a charming culinary oasis amid the still developing and thus somewhat discordant Granary District. It may prove to be quite a harbinger of complicated and beloved things to come, as the West side of Downtown SLC continues to expand and rebuild as the next primary corridor of Salt Lake small businesses. Follow Woodbine Food Hall & Rooftop Bar on Instagram @woodbineslc.