The space between mall food courts, where you can let your kids run wild and free, and a fancy restaurant where you get nice wine and need to keep them under control traditionally gets filled by mediocre fast-casual restaurants. Lincoln South Food Hall attempts to up end that, keeping the choice, convenience, and vaguely chaotic and kid-friendly noise level, but enhancing the setting and offerings beyond fast-food and national chain mediocrity.
Located on the second floor of Lincoln Square South, it shares the mall building with offices and a movie theater, has a big parking garage and is connected to Lincoln Square North and Bellevue Square via skybridge. General seating runs down the center, while each of the seven shops also has their own areas, which fit their particular theme.
The themes include a taco truck (with a fun faux-Airstream trailer at which you order), pizza shop (with seating that lets you look right into the oven), Japanese/Taiwanese crossover night-market counter, burger shop that came straight out of central casting, poke-and-salad bar, sandwich and charcuterie shop, and a coffee shop with signature chocolates.
Despite the polished appearance, the food court is kid friendly: each of the stands has a kid’s menu, from plainer bao sandwiches and a simpler ramen, to a kids burger and milkshake. Kid pizzas, quesadillas, ham sandwiches, and even Nutella toast fill out the various menus: affordable children’s portions of mains, sides, and even drinks are available at each of the stands.
The biggest hits for kids are likely the simple tacos ordered from the taco-truck-shaped stand, and topped with options from the salsa bar, all washed down with horchata (a rice-based drink that’s a big hit with the small set), and the pizza station because, well, pizza.
If you’re just stopping in for a snack, the house-made ganaches at Dote Coffee from master chocolatier Ewald Notter go well stirred into a cup of hot milk, and the multi-colored oversized glossy croissants sold there from Redmond’s Bakehouse 55, will tantalize tots into keeping calm for the rest of the shopping trip.
Beyond the more intriguing food options and higher-end ingredients, including baked goods from Macrina and breads from Columbia Bakery at Baguette Epicerie, staff come around and pour water and clear plates, keeping the space as immaculate as the cool marble bar tops, and allowing parents to stay at the table with their kids.
Its a convenient compromise between the chaos, messiness, and hot-dog level of the traditional food court, and trying to wrangle amped-up post-movie or pre-shopping kiddos into a fancy sit-down meal.