Idaho’s First Food Hall

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Idaho Food Hall 2nd South Market in Twin Falls

By KEN LEVY

Forget your shopping-mall food courts with their groupings of factory-food chain restaurants. Instead, combine new, unique dining experiences within a restored and remodeled historical building, to bring Idaho’s first food-hall experience to Twin Falls.

Dave and Lisa Buddecke are doing just that, with the development of 2nd South Market in a 94-year-old building in the heart of Twin Falls’ historic warehouse district.

“We first learned about food halls during a summer visit to Denver in 2018,” Lisa said. “Dave followed his phone map to find a bakery and could not find an actual bakery, but was in front of Denver Central Market. He walked in to his first food hall experience and was wowed by the open design, variety of vendors, and community seating in a large open space concept.”

He took Lisa and their daughters there the next day, and they all agreed it would be a great concept to bring to Twin Falls.

Driven by that idea, the Buddeckes spent the next two years researching 11 food halls around the country, in Portland, Ore., Denver, Colo., Georgia, and North Carolina, to learn about their operations and best practices for success.

A 2019 study on food halls by real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield said the large, open-space concept of food halls “attract consumers hungry for authenticity and an experiential lifestyle.”

The Buddeckes aim to provide that very experience. In November 2019, the ideal win-win opportunity presented itself in Twin Falls, when a vacant Salvation Army building became available. They purchased the property as Kelsar Properties, LLC, following opportunity zone criteria, which offers several tax benefits. Opportunity zones are created in an economically distressed area, where certain new investments get preferred tax treatment to help spur economic development, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

At 210 2nd Avenue South, the market space includes 13,000 square feet indoors, for up to eight food vendors, and seating for as many as 125. Outside, a fenced, 14,700 square-foot space, dubbed “The Yard,” is planned to open for summer and fall outdoor seating for up to 250, with the potential for markets, private events, and other outdoor activities, including live concerts.

The 2nd South Market will include a good variety of local and regional food without the chain restaurants. So far, The Smokey Bone BBQ and CloverLeaf Creamery have signed on. The Smokey Bone BBQ, with locations in Twin Falls and Hailey, offers southern-style bbq, including beef brisket, baby back ribs, pulled pork, and many other barbecue favorites.

Smokey Bone owner Juan Martinez said the 2nd South Market location will offer the same menu as his other sites and will also serve a bar menu featuring selections from about 20 to 30 local and regional beers on tap, plus wine.

Instead of walking into just one restaurant establishment, Martinez said, customers will find community seating available and enjoy barbecue and other choices indoors or out.

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He said he’ll create about 20 jobs at the new location.

Based in nearby Buhl, CloverLeaf Creamery will offer their homemade ice cream, as well as milk, half and half, butter, yogurt, and cream at the market. Dave Buddecke said the addition of CloverLeaf to 2nd South Market will give visitors an opportunity to try the 24 flavors of their ice cream and grass-fed dairy products.

The market project will include an open design to draw customers hungry for a dining experience unlike typical restaurants, with an ideal location and atmosphere in an updated, renovated old space representing community history, Lisa said. Construction was continuing as of this writing.

That history is coming back to life, as the Buddeckes are remodeling the interior of the 1926 structure to reveal its original wood ceiling and trusses, doors, and windows. Lisa said the design will be similar to a warehouse, and historic aspects of the building will be maintained and complemented with the indoor design.

The work so far has been largely unaffected by the outbreak of COVID-19.

“We kept indoor and outdoor renovation going during March and April, thanks to the large expansive space allowing for natural distancing of our contractors,” Lisa said. “And they were thankful to be working.”

Indoor construction—electrical and plumbing—began in early May. The outdoor plans require a special use permit from the city. Once approved, additional construction on the outside will begin.

The project is fully ADA compliant. There will be several handicapped-parking spaces in front of the building. The indoor facility is on a single level with easy ramp access to the outdoors. 

The Buddeckes originally planned to open 2nd South Market in June, but pushed that back to July.

“Unlike many other food halls, we have only a few select vendors, opting not to cram the space with more vendors,” she said. “That decision has proven to be wise now with C-19 concerns. The indoor/outdoor large open seating will allow for natural physical distancing.”  ISI

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