The Lincoln South Food Hall is a fresh departure from the normal “food court”-type scene in other shopping destinations. Located on the second floor of the new Lincoln Square South tower, it offers a smorgasbord of quick dishes inspired by flavors from around the globe. The hall is comprised of six eateries and one coffee shop packed into a modern space.
“We didn’t do another full-service dining restaurant with an average dish of $30 and an average dining time of one hour. We did a food hall that has a sense of discovery. (There is) a lot of grab and go, a lot of healthy options, and (food) paying tribute to the Northwest, specifically our true local area,” said Elaina Herber, co-owner of the hall.
For about two years, Herber and her husband, Paul, a Bellevue native, have been planning this endeavor. They visited food courts and halls around the country, pinpointing what they wanted to bring to Bellevue. They partnered with Jeffrey Frederick, a food industry pro with 30 years of experience opening food halls and buffets in Las Vegas. It was his vision to come up with everything Lincoln South Food Hall would look like and offer. Quality options were at the top of his priority list.
“We wanted to make sure that the food we provided or prepare has incredible high-quality ingredients that is crafted by experienced and talented chefs and culinarians that have a respect for the industry. You won’t find many chains, things that are prefabricated or processed; everything that we do here we are either doing from scratch or sourcing from local vendors that are making it from scratch,” he said.
The other priority: convenience. The Lincoln South Food Hall is open more than 16 hours a day (with the exception of Sunday). You can get avocado toast in the morning for breakfast before 7 a.m. and a fruity cocktail late at night. Plus it’s more affordable than most sit-down restaurants in the area. A pork and pineapple taco costs about $3, a Japanese fried chicken meal is $4.50, and several fresh and crispy salads are around $9.
“It’s not the price point that (customers are) used to paying — because you can charge that here,” said Elaina. “But (we) wanted to try something different — offering big flavor without charging big bucks.”
Take an inside look at Bellevue’s Lincoln South Food Hall and the challenges that arose to build it, along with a closer look at the mishmash of tasty options up for grabs.
If the pizza from Crosta E Vino isn’t your thing, try a cheese board with handmade creamy Washington Fontina and local honeycomb.
Cheers and chill
Burger Brawler offers late-night sips with a hefty list of beers on tap, cocktails, and wines. The bar stays open later than most of the other eateries (10 p.m. on weeknights and later on weekends). You can also get a late-night snack with burgers made with a prime dry-aged chopped steak blend from St. Helens Beef, known for its Northwest grain-fed meat. Burger Brawler also serves a pork burger, a salmon “fishwich,” and falafel. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the fried Oreos (gasp!) and cereal milk for dessert.
Bring to a boil
When it comes to ramen, it’s all about the broth. Fat and Feathers boils its Carlton Farms pork bones for 14 hours to create a creamy and rich pork-laden bone broth. The Dashi broth is lightly simmered with bonito flakes and sheets of Konbu seaweed imported from Japan. There’s also a vegan option. The salmon pastrami bao is a nod to the Northwest, with pickled cabbage and mustard-miso aioli.
Trial by trailer
Serving street tacos out of a decorated Airstream at Barrio Luchador adds to the aesthetic fun flair. But getting the trailer into a nearly completed tower was no easy task. “I can’t tell you how hard that was,” said Frederick. “It was a painstaking effort to try to figure out because the building was largely closed, so we couldn’t remove walls or glass to get (the trailer) in here. So, it actually had to be disassembled … and then reassembled here in the hall.”
Bake it up
Breads are baked daily by Grand Central Bakery for the sandwiches at Baguette Epicerie. Starting at 6 a.m., you can get a smoothie bowl or a fancy piece of toast with smoked salmon or salted caramelized banana and Nutella. And while $10 for avocado toast might seem steep, it’s a dynamite breakfast treat piled high with a soft-boiled egg, radishes, oven-roasted tomatoes, and a sprinkle of crushed pistachios. In a rush? Try the bright-red raspberry chocolate croissants on the go.
Coffee to go
Dote Coffee Bar at the entrance of the food hall has been serving its small-batch, locally roasted coffee since last summer. Eastsider Sarah Doud runs the coffee operation. She helped bring specialty coffee to the United Kingdom. Her business was sold to Starbucks as its entrance into the European market. But this isn’t just a coffee shop. It’s got a side of chocolatey goodness. Co-owner Chef Ewald Notter is a chocolate connoisseur who has competed in about 15 different countries as a professional pastry chef, winning gold medals for his flair for sweets. He makes decadent ganache for coffee drinks and boozy coffee cocktails. Looking for a 2 p.m. pick-me-up? Try one of his chocolates at the coffee bar.
Fresh and Fab
When people read the fish sign Avo-Poke, they think poke bowls. This little eatery certainly makes a mean poke bowl with six different kinds of poke to choose from. But the beauty that is Avo-Poke is the laundry list of fresh and healthy ingredients to choose from. Take your salad in any direction — from roasted chicken with feta and chickpeas to pickled ginger, seared tuna, and crispy noodles. The world is your oyster. They also serve fresh juices and sushi doughnuts that are Instagram-worthy and delicious.
Go to LincolnSFH.com where online ordering will be available starting on March 8. Food delivery will be available later in the month, and Baguette Epicerie offers catering and gourmet boxed lunches as well.
All the murals are done by local artists, including the modern Geisha that looks out above the sake bar.
Mexican street tacos
Barrio Luchador serves tacos with prepared meats, chips, and guacamole, and grilled Mexican street corn with mayo, lime, and seasoning. On the side, order a coconut water horchata or margarita!
Wines on tap
American craft pizza eatery Crosta E Vino serves 30 wines on tap from red to white, and from rose to sparkling. If you go for a glass, you’ll stay for the fresh pies made with local ingredients like sausage from Uli’s at Pike Place Market in Seattle, and organic fresh eggs from Stiebrs Farms in Yelm.
Meet the chef
Daniel Laferriere likes to call himself “an enemy to lobsters.” As a kid growing up in the Boston area, he and his dad would cruise down to coastal towns and pick out a live lobster for his birthday. It’s his favorite food, and it shows. He has a red lobster in a swirl of blue water tattooed on his right forearm.
“I don’t have this romantic story with a grandmother who loved to cook,” he said of his upbringing.
His mother was Irish Catholic and grew up on “government cheese.” Casseroles and stews were common in their house. His dad would do the experimenting in the kitchen “whether it came out good or not,” he said.
Laferriere’s career in the food industry started when he got a job at Ruby Tuesday washing dishes as a teen. That position led to becoming a prep cook, a server, and then a cook on weekends. Laferriere has worked in every part of a restaurant.
He received his degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. For nearly a decade, Laferriere worked in Las Vegas at restaurants like Guy Savoy, Daniel Boulud’s DB Brasserie, and Wolfgang Puck.
Now the leader of his own six-part restaurant, Laferriere is excited about joining the growing Northwest food scene. He’s committed to cooking with fresh local ingredients and is proud of the dynamic food the hall is serving.
He recently moved to Kirkland with his family. His 2-year-old daughter is too young to appreciate his fine cooking, but she likes to help in the kitchen.
“She’s obsessed with eggs. She loves cracking eggs. We even got her toy eggs because she loves to crack them so much,” he said.