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New Loop Food Hall Opens With Pork & Mindy's, Tacos & More

By David Matthews | October 16, 2017 2:24pm
 Friends Ramen & Sushi is one of the vendors opening at the Forum 55 food hall next week.
Friends Ramen & Sushi is one of the vendors opening at the Forum 55 food hall next week.
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THE LOOP — The Loop lunch scene is getting another upgrade next week.

Forum 55, a new upscale "food hall," has opened at 55 E. Monroe St. 

The latest in a wave of so-called food halls opening Downtown, Forum 55 will feature rotating pop-up restaurants and an incubator for women and minority-owned startups in addition to vendors such as Pork & Mindy's and Flo & Santos.

Guests order their food at digital kiosks, simplifying their stay.

“We conceptualized this food hall to offer a delicious, accessible option for Chicagoans," Jim Kallas, Illinois Restaurant Association chairman and division president of Eurest, the company behind Forum 55, said in a statement. “We’ve combined some of the best local restaurants to create a fun, social gathering place.”

Located in an office building's concourse level off Monroe, Forum 55 can seat 270 people. 

The food hall will be open for breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. A grab-and-go market called Monroe Street Market will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. Here is a full list of vendors:

•The Apron Exchange: This incubator will offer equipment and staff to women and minority-owned businesses. Jeni Wahl of Dia De Los Tamales will be up first. 

•Butcher & Larder: The Bucktown butcher shop will sell custom hot dogs, Italian sausages, burgers and other sandwiches. The butcher will eventually offer takeout steaks.

•The Community Garden: A big salad bar sourced from area farmers.

•Sparrow Coffee: A West Loop-based roaster.

•Flo & Santos: The South Loop pizzeria will sell its thin-crust pizzas and Polish classics including pierogis and kielbasa. 

•Friends Ramen & Friends Sushi: The River North eatery will sell Ramen bowls, sushi rolls and poké.

•Mercadito Taqueria: The River North taqueria will sell tacos a la carte, elotes, lobster mac-n-cheese and more.

•Monroe Street Market: A grab-and-go market featuring items from Forum 55 vendors.

•The Pop-Up: A counter featuring a different restaurant every week. The schedule so far includes Masala Bowl, Bibimbop, Earth Bowl, Piccolo Italia and Chef Jet. 

•Pork & Mindy's: The restaurant by Food Network's Jeff Mauro sells smoked meats and one-of-a-kind fare including award-winning pork baos, "Pig Candy BLT" sandwiches and more.