"Brings people together"

"The Food Hall brings people together." 

 The Food Hall located in the Warsaw Breweries is a new place on the culinary map of Warsaw. Aleksander Köffer-Likus, COO, talks about the new project, its location, investment advantages and plans for development for horecanet.pl

How did the Food Hall in the Warsaw Breweries happen? Did you plan such a concept earlier, were you just looking for a suitable location, or maybe the location caused the birth of the concept?

- I have never lacked ideas when it came to creating something unique, standing out among the multitude of establishments on the Polish gastronomic market. However, it was only three years ago that there came the opportunity to develop the beautiful basements of the Old Warsaw Breweries, formerly known as Leżakownia (the Storage Cellars), revitalized by Echo Investment. It was the right time and place.

Initially, inspired by the design of the iconic American restaurant from the beginning of the past century, the Schvitz Bathhouse in Detroit, a large restaurant with a separate fitness and spa area was to be built here. However, we've decided that we won't limit ourselves to one specific group of customers and we decided to reach the widest possible community, people of different ages and having various culinary preferences - and so the idea for "Food Hall Browary" was born.

We started to implement this project with great enthusiasm and determination. With family support and the ideas of many kind people, it was possible to create a place with a wonderful, extraordinary atmosphere, where everyone, regardless of their culinary preferences, can find something for themselves.

The main advantage of "Food Hall Browary" consists in its location. However, let us not forget that the possibility to taste dishes served by excellent chefs is the main reason for visiting. The gastronomic offer is complemented by Bar Centralny and Wine Bar, as well as weekend events, live music, or performances by well-known and respected DJs, which add an additional flavour to "Food Hall Browary". The breakfast zone is also a great advantage of the restaurant.

The design of the window displays allows them to slide completely and blur the space between the interior and the garden zone. Food halls are becoming very popular in Europe and around the world. They connect people while offering something for the palate and something for the spirit. Places such as "Food Hall Browary" in Warsaw, "Time Out Market" in Lisbon, or "Gotham West Market" in New York offer access to the best cuisines in the world combined with a wide range of cultural events - what more can we ask for?

Why did you choose the Warsaw Breweries? What are the advantages of locating the project in Wola?

- "Food Hall Browary" constitutes primarily a spectacular space consisting of barrel vaults with original restored brick from the 19th century, where the Haberbusch and Schiele Brewery has been established. The contemporary version of the old basements constitutes a place for social meetings, not only for enjoying excellent cuisine and cocktails, but also spending free time among greenery and silence, far from the city noise. It is a place for discovering flavours, inspired by history and art. The Warsaw Breweries are a wonderfully thought-out, modern urban space, in no way inferior to similar investments in the United States or in other parts of Europe. In order to meet the expectations of a modern customer, the investor has not forgotten about greenery. Large trees have been planted and flower meadows were designed, while on hot days entire families are attracted by a square with a fountain. During a break between business meetings, there is plenty of space to have a quick and nutritious lunch.

Our "smaller brothers" are also welcome in "Food Hall Browary" - dogs feel as good here as their owners.

Wola is slowly becoming the new center of the capital. The number of newly created office and apartment buildings promises a lot of traffic both in the morning, during lunchtime, as well as in the evening, not to mention the weekends.

The Food Hall combines numerous functions. You have invited numerous partners to cooperate, for example chefs - who contributed to this place?

- Apart from the companies co-creating the project in terms of architecture, I mean the "Noke" Architectural Studio or the company that created the interior and development of Bar Centralny and Wine Bar - "Trust Us", we've invited the best chefs and restaurateurs from such places as "Dziurka od Klucza", Mr. Alon Than from "The Sushi", Lin Nguyen, well known to the residents of Warsaw, from "Pho2" or "Silk & Spicy" where the chef is Zun Dungh, master of original Thai cuisine. A graduate of the London culinary school "Le Cordon Bleu" and chef with experience gained in Poland and abroad is responsible for the concept of "The Seafood Bar". And it is impossible not to mention one of the longest bars in Poland, the Bar Centralny located in the central cradle of "Food Hall Browary". Karim Bibars in the man behind the concept of Bar Centralny and Wine Bar - the legendary Warsaw bartender and winner of the Polish edition of the largest rum bartending competition in the world.

As you can see, at the Food Hall it is possible to taste dishes from all over the world. The mentioned bars also have their place. What types of cuisines can be found in this space?

- When selecting the cuisines, we wanted to provide our guests with the widest spectrum of gastronomic experiences in Poland. Thanks to such an approach, we've managed to select 11 restaurants serving various types of cuisine. From Italian pasta and Neapolitan pizza, to Japanese sushi, or Middle Eastern cuisine, and ending with something that is simply a must-have - Polish cuisine. "The Seafood Bar" offers seafood and fish, and the concept of "S'poke & śledzie" serves excellent quality Dutch matjes herring. "Octo Pasta Pizza" is dominated by pastas, pizza, and seafood. "A' Panu occo?!" is a concept in the style of Neapolitan street food. The name refers to panuozzo, Italian pizza dough sandwiches. "SILK & SPICY" offers Thai cuisine, "The Sushi" serves Japanese dishes, "Falla WRAP" - a vegan concept at "Food Hall Browary" serves wraps and vegetable burgers, and Polish cuisine based on recipes from the 20s and 30s of the past century is offered by "Jasna Sprawa". We also have "Boston Burger" with a classic burger, or the option of a: cheeseburger, double bacon, or smash burger. Next, "Okarima Ramen" with fragrant ramen, or Linh Nguyen's "Viet Nem" concept offering  the Asian cuisine.

The key element of "Food Hall Browary" consists in Bar Centralny, with its rich offer referring to the beer history of the Warsaw Breweries as well as the latest global trends - the changing menu will always surprise you with new items and flavours.

You pay great attention to the visual effect, the essence of art, and good music at the Food Hall. How is this reflected in the new location?

- "Food Hall Browary" will not only be a place of culinary experiences. We plan a wide event offer with a stage where you can see DJs and musicians, but also well known as well as yet undiscovered artists. Various activities are planned, from live-cooking, through meetings with authors, thematic shows, and pop-ups.

Soon we will introduce a series of "Jazz Night" events for guests who prefer calmer music. There will also be something for art aficionados. For them, we will organize exhibitions throughout the entire Food Hall.

Next summer, at the back of "Food Hall Browary", we will prepare a new, night version of the lounge area with a low-key garden, with waiters, creating a VIP area. We plan to establish cooperation with the best artists to complete the already implemented events.

Alexander Köffer-Likus for Herecanet.pl - interviewed by Milena Kaszuba-Janus.