First Look

First Look: The New Food Hall in Downtown Dallas Gets It Right

The Exchange food hall at the AT&T Discovery District is now fully opened, showcasing some of Dallas' best bites.
The Exchange food hall at the AT&T Discovery District is now fully opened, showcasing some of Dallas' best bites. Kathy Tran
Yet another food hall has opened in North Texas. This past weekend, The Exchange celebrated its grand opening in downtown Dallas’ AT&T Discovery District. With two floors containing multiple restaurant stalls, The Exchange allows guests to get a taste of some of Dallas’ favorite restaurants.

In recent years, food halls have been popping up, and although the excitement associated with their novelty has worn off, The Exchange gets right what a lot of these food halls get wrong.

Many of North Texas’ food halls opened in suburban cities, like Legacy Hall in Plano and the now-closed Urban8 in The Colony. As food stalls have come and gone in these halls, the glitz of them has dwindled. The Exchange’s central downtown location, along with its ample walking space throughout, plus an even mix of new restaurants and Dallas favorites make it a fun, agreeable place to hang out.

click to enlarge The frozen margarita swirl from Double Tap at The Exchange. - ALEX GONZALEZ
The frozen margarita swirl from Double Tap at The Exchange.
Alex Gonzalez
The Exchange offers 16 dining options, including Monkey King Noodle Co., Revolver Taco and Zalat, the latter of which will finally offer pizza by the slice exclusively at this location. Dessert options include La Duni, Val’s Cheesecakes and Press Waffle Co. On the second floor, you’ll find the more formal sit-down spots, including an Asian fusion restaurant called Ichi Ni San and a Texas-inspired brasserie called Ounce.

Each floor has its own bar; Double Tap on the first and Hard Shake on the second. At Hard Shake, you can try a variety of cocktails, including the sangria roja, made with hibiscus, ginger, strawberry, orange and apple and red wine ($12). Another cute choice is the Just Like Audrey Hepburn cocktail, made with Grey Goose Essence Strawberry, lemongrass, citrus, honey and sparkling rose ($14).

Downstairs at Double Tap, the frozen margarita with a sangria swirl ($13) is sure to hit you like a truck.

The overall aesthetic is composed of simple, dark colors, creating a more formal, loungy environment. While places like Legacy Hall appeal to families, offering different types of food that even the pickiest of eaters are bound to agree on, it’s clear that The Exchange is geared more toward the grown-ups.

click to enlarge The plaza area in front of The Exchange - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
The plaza area in front of The Exchange
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Whether you’re going for a night out with friends, taking a break from work downtown or visiting Dallas and want a taste of some of our best restaurants, The Exchange offers the best of Dallas in one convenient location. Although food halls have shown to be a hit or miss over the past few years, The Exchange seems promising.

The Exchange. 211 South Akard St. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., hours vary by vendor.
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Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez