Harvest Hall, 815 S Main St, Grapevine. 817-251-3050. 11am-9pm Mon-Thu & Sun, 11am-11pm Fri-Sat.
Food halls are just cafeterias for adults. They’re the bougie, grown-up version of your middle school lunchroom where nostalgia — minus the hunched old ladies in hairnets slopping the day’s gruel onto your grooved plastic tray — mixes with the notion that your food choices should be both multitudinous and quickly and easily accessible.
At least, that’s what I used to think. Harvest Hall took a cartoon mallet to the judgmental little devil on my shoulder and left it seeing stars.
For the hell of it, my friend and I hopped onto the TEXRail northeast-bound to Harvest Hall. Right off the Main Street Grapevine stop and housed within Hotel Vin, a boutique stay that’s been open for just over a year now, the train station-themed food hall pays homage to vintage rail with a modern twist. Both the hotel and the hall unite within Grapevine Main, a grand mixed-use space. The exterior features an adorable brick plaza complete with a light-up dancing fountain reminiscent of that in downtown Fort Worth’s Sundance Square, and, adjacent to the railroad tracks, a turfed patio with strung lights nearly spans the length of the building.
Modeled after European food halls, Harvest Hall occupies the infinitely tall-ceilinged space with six eateries, a coffee bar, and two actual bars. The chic interior mosaiced with countless subway tiles and boasting retro-style lamps atop mid-century modern furniture harkens to an era when railway stations were the fashionable mode of transportation.
By the time my friend and I deboarded the train and eagerly skipped inside, our eyes had grown to be much larger than our stomachs. After making our initial round to scope out the entire place, instead of doing the sensible thing and buying from one or two places, we dived into the deep end and sampled one item from almost every vendor. Almost.
Dividing and conquering like the culinary crusaders we pretended to be, the two of us covered two venues each. At Spuntino’s, the (better) half of me that’s Italian convinced the lesser half to indulge in some arancini (fried rice balls filled with meat, cheese, and tomato sauce) as well as the meatballs I’d been on assignment to order. Next, I scampered to Chick & Biscuit to grab a “Bee’s Knees.” I’d be lying if I said we didn’t single out this particular fried chicken sandwich because of its name.
Meanwhile, my counterpart dashed toward Easy Slider, where the loaded tots were a no-brainer, and Arepas TX for some street-style tacos. We rendezvoused at a table in the middle of the action and wolfed down bites from each of the four vendors, rotating our platters so as to nibble each nosh, and we washed everything down with cocktails from the Main Line bar. My “Grapevine Mule” — I mean, I had to, y’know? — puckered my lips with its citrus kick but was enjoyable, nonetheless.
The fare we chose was admittedly all over the map, but there’s something about choosing a little of this and a little of that to complete a potluck-style picnic and allow yourself to dabble a bit.
Where the meatballs from Spuntino’s disappointed on almost all fronts, the arancini tasted *chef’s kiss* buonissimo, as if crafted abroad. Out of the carne mechada, grilled chicken, and carnitas tacos from Arepas TX, the cilantro-spiced chicken was the most savory, and the salsa verde really enhanced and drew out the flavors of each of the meats. Chick & Biscuit’s Bee’s Knees sandwich perfectly blended sweet, heat, and salt with blue cheese, honey, and hot sauce, each ingredient pairing beautifully without any one overwhelming or outshining the others.
If the venues had been competing, Easy Slider’s loaded tots topped with bacon bits and chives would have narrowly beat out the arancini. What set them apart from the competition were the house-made ranch drizzling and melted cheddar cheese throughout. Need I say more?
Post stuffing ourselves with various victuals and liquoring up with our second round of cocktails, his pink-hued Cosmo and my decidedly rum-forward Dark & Stormy, we gravitated toward the sound of music emitting from the Third Rail bar. A self-proclaimed “hootenanny string band,” The Bodarks strummed away onstage as my friend and I relished seeing live music again.
I capped off the evening with an aptly garnished cherry limeade. Maybe it was the ambience of the low-lit lounge or the fact that my beverage tasted like a fancier, spiked version of the Sonic drink of the same name, but the evening certainly ended on a high note. Harvest Hall is on track, so to speak, to becoming a hub of good food, drinks, and entertainment just a train ride away.