Lyric Market has tapped food hall management company Hospitality HQ to serve as its new operator. Hospitality HQ will oversee all management and operations of Lyric Market, such as vendor curation and relations, as well as day-to-day logistics and guest services. The Brooklyn-based company was founded by chef Akhtar Nawab, who also serves as CEO. The company manages restaurants and food halls across the country, including Inner Rail Food Hall in Omaha, Nebraska; Alta Calidad in Brooklyn, New York; Otra Vez in New Orleans; ACTQ in both Brooklyn and New Orleans; and Prather’s on the Alley in Washington, D.C. Lyric Market, which has delayed its projected opening a couple of times, is now slated to open in December within Houston’s Downtown Theater District, at the intersection of Smith and Prairie streets. It will feature self-contained vendor bays, modular table seating, integrated takeout and contactless pay systems. In addition to Lyric Market, Hospitality HQ is working on a Chicago-based project, Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall, which is scheduled to open in August. US Property Management, the developer of Lyric Market, first announced the project in January 2018 and said it would open in the fall of 2018. The firm originally partnered with local restaurant group Clark Cooper Concepts to operate the food hall, and early on pushed the projected opening date to Q2 2019. That partnership ended in May 2019 without a public explanation, pushing the opening target again to the end of 2019.
Food halls and farmers markets have enjoyed increasing popularity in Houston’s restaurant landscape, providing affordable spaces for vendors to test out new culinary concepts. Railway Heights Market and Houston Farmers Market are two food market projects under development that are slated to open fully within the next 12 months.