Utah Bites

Not Your Papa’s Food Court: Putting the “New” into the New Year with HallPass

HallPass opens at The Gateway this January with new dining choices, a full bar, music and Speakeasy.



Photos by Ted Scheffler

It seems like I’ve been writing about happenings at The Gateway very frequently lately, because I have. The once beleaguered “mall” has been undergoing a renaissance and rebirth that began when businesses such as MidiCi, Dave & Busters, Chedda Burger, Momi Donuts, Seabird, and more recently, Mr. Shabu, joined stalwart eateries like Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, California Pizza Kitchen, and Tucanos Brazilian Grill in offering Gateway customers a wider range of culinary and drink options.

Well, that range is about to expand significantly with the opening – slated for January 2020 – of HallPass, which is said to be Utah’s first food hall. And, if you’re thinking of another ho-hum mall-style food court, think again. HallPass is like nothing I’ve seen before. For starters, it includes a fully-stocked bar, a speakeasy, and eight different food concepts. On weekends, DJs and live musicians will entertain HallPass guests.

Anchored by the Las Vegas-based SkinnyFATS, HallPass will feature communal dining in a 11,000-plus square foot space that features beautiful design elements including wall murals created by a local artist and an eclectic, varied selection of foods and cuisines, ranging from a raw seafood bar and a waffle emporium, to a Nashville hot chicken eatery and a ramen outlet, just to mention a few.

SkinnyFATS Hot Chix Salad

SkinnyFATS, which is the centerpiece of HallPass, sports a fun and whimsical menu. Or I should say, menus, plural. SkinnyFATS offers diners a “Live Healthy, Live Happy” selection of healthy dining options all under 600 calories – things like the Mean Bean chickpea patty and T.A.T.S. (turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, spinach), which is balanced by more decadent dishes (the “Happy” side) of burgers, fried pickle chips, Buffalo chicken tenders, and so on.

Colossal Lobster Salmon a la Plancha

“We’ve seen the SkinnyFATS concept go over in such a big way in Las Vegas and Dallas,” said founder Reed Allen Slobusky. Adding, “Now we’re elevating the experience by creating a space that showcases art, music, food, and drinks in the heart of Downtown Salt Lake City.”

SkinnyFATS Classic Burge

One smart aspect of HallPass is the way that food orders are billed and paid for. Let’s say that a family of four decides to dine at HallPass. Mom wants a SkinnyFats salad, while dad is in the mood for teppanyaki-style stir fry from Hibachican. Susie would like a Liege-style waffle from Waffadopolis and Stan is hungry for fish and chips at CodSpeed. No problem. No separate checks. The whole family can order whatever they’d like, wherever they’d like, and everything appears on one check that you pay on your way out. Pretty cool.

Waffadopolis Liege-Style Waffle

One of the HallPass food outlets I suspect I’ll become very familiar with is Colossal Lobster, where you’ll find not only Maine-style lobster rolls, but raw bar fare such as oysters on the half shell, King crab legs, prawns, ceviche, Maine lobster, shrimp tacos, chowders, a lobster Reuben, and much more.

Colossal Lobster

The cleverly named CodSpeed will also feature fresh fish based on availability – “dock to table” fare. Freshly sourced seafood at CodSpeed runs the gamut from mahi mahi, sole, barramundi, scallops, ahi tuna and swordfish, to crab cakes, soft shell crab, Coho salmon, fish & chips, buffalo popcorn shrimp, shrimp burger, and much more.

CodSpeed Fish & Chips

Raining Ramen at HallPass will celebrate all things ramen, with broth options like shoyu, tonkatsu, vegan creamy miso, hiyashi, and miso, and with all sorts of add-ins available. Meanwhile, Blaze of Thunder will appeal to guests who, like me, love Nashville-style hot chicken, available as a sandwich or breasts, legs, thighs, wings or tenders. Heat levels go from “0 m.p.h. To 500 m.p.h.”

Blaze of Thunder Nashville Hot Chicken

If you’re accustomed to, or expect, plastic chairs and cafeteria-type tables at HallPass, you couldn’t be more wrong. This ain’t your papa’s food court. The wooden communal tables and chairs are hand-crafted with golden acacia from Thailand and are accompanied by ornate Balinese doors, original murals and art pieces by HallPass’ resident artist. The tables and stools, in particular, are stunning.

Golden Acacia from Thailand

Folks who like to enjoy a cold brew, glass of wine, or cocktail will appreciate HallPass’ full-service bar called Beer Zombies Tap Room & Beer Garden. Although the focus is on beer – around 30 craft brews on tap – there’s also a good wine selection and craft cocktails available. Also slated to open at HallPass is the Speakeasy, a password-required, private place to sip a drink – very private, indeed, since it literally only seats eight people. The question that comes to my mind is how they’re going to secure a license for The Speakeasy, since the UDABC reports only three of them available in 2020. We’ll see … Stay tuned.

Beer Zombies Tap Room & Beer Garden

Guac Pusher is a “micro concept” – literally, a hole in the wall serving made-to-order guacamole. And finally, if you’re not quite sure what to look forward to in 2020, stop by HallPass to have animatronic Zoltar look into the future for you.

And, stay tuned to Utah Bites for updates on the opening of HallPass.

Zoltar Sees into the Future

Culinary quote of the week:

It’s an uphill battle to help our kids learn to make good food decisions – particularly when they are too often presented with an a la carte lunch room choice of french fries or yogurt. — Amy Klobuchar




Food writer Ted SchefflerOriginally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.

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