Downtown food hall to open next month will pair corporate with community, and a hitch: No cash

On the heels of the opening of the Federal Galley food hall on the North Side and before the Pennsylvania Market opens in the Strip, Downtown will get its own food hall: Oxford Market expects to open on the plaza level of One Oxford Centre on or shortly before Feb. 1.

And this one promises to be cashless.

In addition to eschewing cash for most food transactions, this food hall diverges from others in the area in that it’s a hybrid branded space from Eurest — the $1.4 billion food and vending division of Compass Group North America — with an eye on community businesses, that will also include at least one local chef spot, says Jim Kallas, Eurest Division president based in Chicago.

“It’s a big deal for us,” says Mr. Kallas. “We hope it’s the first of many projects in the region.”

Mr. Kallas says they’ve been in talks with a couple of local chefs about taking up residence in the space with multiple stations, such as one offering Italian fare (which may be run by a local chef), a grill (which could be run by Eurest), “Spices,” with dishes from India to Mexico and the “Community Garden,” which will be partially stocked with produce and wares from local farmers — as the company has done in other markets. The offerings will switch up every year or so, he says. 

Mr. Kallas says the location will also offer an “Apron Exchange,” which will recruit local women and minority-owned start-ups to showcase food and beverage products.

These offerings will be available during breakfast and lunch, while Bar Oxford will be open for the after-work crowd, serving drinks and bar snacks.

The bar is the only place where guests can pay with cash. “The modern food hall features state-of-the-art cashless technology at its ordering and payment kiosks throughout the space,” reads a press release. A spokesperson confirmed. “The food hall will feature cashless kiosks throughout. The bar will accept cash and credit cards,” she wrote in an email. 

Oxford Market is not the only restaurant that’s converting to cashless in the area: Everyday Cafe in Homewood is also cashless. Outside Pittsburgh, the cashless movement is gaining momentum with fast-casual restaurants such as the salad giant Sweetgreen no longer accepting cash, along with celebrity chef David Chang’s fast-casual Fuku. The use of cash is on the decline, according to a Federal Reserve study on the state of cash from last year. 

Oxford Market is Eurest’s first foray into Pittsburgh. Eurest linked up with San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties after Shorenstein bought the Grant Street building last year, and the company has worked with the developer to re-imagine the space, which includes a mix of indoor seating from communal tables to high-top tables in an atrium. There also will be outdoor seating, weather permitting.

Oxford Market is part of $50 million in renovations to the 1980s’ building that Shorenstein bought for $148.7 million. 

On the ground level of this 45-story building, Oxford Market has a built-in audience, much like Galley Group’s Federal Galley, which opened earlier this month on the ground level of Nova Place. Nova Place is the former Allegheny Center that was bought by New York-based Faros Properties. The vendors at Federal Galley accept cash.

Melissa McCart:; Instagram @postgazettefood; Facebook @postgazettefood


Hot Topic