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Downtown is About to Get Its Fourth Food Hall

Understory will offer seven counters, plus a bar and a full-service restaurant

Courtesy Skanska

The Downtown landscape is poised to be saturated with food halls as Finn Hall, Lyric Market, and Bravery Chef Hall are all set to debut in the coming year, but a newly announced arrival, Understory, is hedging its bets that its location in the tunnels will be enough to set it apart.

The new project will be located in the two-story atrium of the 35-story office building called Capitol Tower, which is still under construction at 800 Capitol Street. Architect Michael Hsu, who’s responsible for the interiors at spaces like Heights Mercantile, Uchi, and Local Foods, will design the 35,000 square-foot space, which will include a full-service restaurant, seven food stalls, and a cocktail bar.

Interiors will feature a contemporary look with copper-clad kitchen hoods, wood butcher block counter tops, and white marble accents. The mixed-use dining and retail project boasts artist murals, “thoughtful furniture,” games, and “sweeping views” of the street. To facilitate its underground location, a massive new 30-foot-wide staircase deemed the “Great Steps” will connect the food hall and tunnels to street level. According to the press release, the staircase is meant to be a “gathering place” hung with art, and will be the first street-level access point to the tunnel network.

Understory, which is named for “the lively space between the forest canopy and the underbrush,” is hoping to “redefine the tunnel experience in a way not seen before in the network’s near 90-year history.”

It faces some stiff competition in the Downtown food hall landscape with the impending arrival of Finn Hall’s two bars and 10 eateries; Bravery Chef Hall with its buzzy Shark Tank-style competition to staff its bar and eateries like MasterChef winner Christine Ha’s The Blind Goat; plus there’s Lyric Market’s planned fall arrival in the theatre district.

Stay tuned for more information on Understory and the eateries set to debut there in 2019.