Last year, chefs Lisa and Patrick Balcom dreamt up a new restaurant: Baa Hachi, which they envisioned as a casual eatery serving pork belly bao buns, kara age fried chicken, tonkotsu ramen, and other Japanese street foods. The Balcoms—who run the hyperlocal, farm-to-table restaurant Farow in Niwot—looked around for a while, but couldn’t find the right space to bring their vision to life.

So, when they heard about plans for a new food hall in neighboring Longmont, they were immediately intrigued. And, it felt like fate: Stall No. 8 was available, and Baa Hachi means “Bar 8” in Japanese. “It seemed like a cool, no-brainer idea to bring it to Longmont,” Patrick says.

Baa Hachi and seven other food concepts—plus a bar and an arcade—opened in late May inside the new Parkway Food Hall, situated in the heart of Longmont at the corner of Main Street and Ken Pratt Boulevard. Food halls are not new in Colorado—these trendy community hubs have popped up in Boulder, Denver, Aurora, Golden, Edgewater, and elsewhere over the last decade—but Parkway is the first to open in Longmont. With a population of nearly 100,000 people and an already thriving food and beverage scene, it was long overdue.

Baa Hachi. Photo by Sarah Kuta

“There’s nothing like this in Longmont,” says Chris Nehls, vice president of Actis, which has owned Parkway Promenade, the shopping center where the food hall is located, for more than 30 years. “Though Denver has one of the highest rates of food halls in the country, Longmont has been left out of the fun, until now.”

The building that now houses the 16,000-square-foot food hall used to be a grocery store—Lucky’s Market, followed briefly by Alfalfa’s Market. But after Alfalfa’s closed in the spring of 2021, the property owners couldn’t find another grocer to occupy the space (and, yes, they did try to persuade Trader Joe’s, according to Nehls). They started brainstorming and a food hall came to mind. “We had no idea whether it would work here. We just thought it would be a cool thing to have in the shopping center,” Nehls says.

The Actis team didn’t have any experience with food halls, so they began road-tripping to visit as many as they could in Colorado. During this research phase, they met Pat Garza, the chief executive officer of National Food Hall Solutions, a food hall management and consulting firm that opened Junction Food & Drink in south Denver in spring 2020. One afternoon last May, Nehls took Garza on a rapid-fire food tour of Longmont, visiting roughly 20 restaurants over the course of about five hours. After that, National Food Hall Solutions agreed to come onboard as the operating partner. “He got it immediately,” Nehls says of Garza. “The restaurants that are doing really well [in Longmont] are packed seven nights a week.”

Chefs were also enthusiastic about Parkway. Chile con Quesadilla, a Denver-based food truck with a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Brighton, was the first concept to officially sign on, and others soon followed. When Parkway put out the call for vendors, applications flooded in—more than double what the space could accommodate. For Christina Richardson, who owns Chile con Quesadilla with her husband, Chris, the food hall was a chance to help create “a space for the community where everyone has a seat at the table,” she says.

To shed the grocery store aesthetic, the team tapped Meridian 105, the architecture firm that designed Edgewater Public Market and Avanti Food & Beverage in LoHi. Parkway’s aesthetic is contemporary and industrial, with polished concrete floors, blonde wood, an exposed ceiling, and black metal accents. Neon signs add pops of color and light, including one just inside the entrance that reads “Craft Your Own Path,” the food hall’s mantra. A spacious, U-shaped bar is situated on the far west wall, with doors and roll-up windows that open onto a shady patio. The space has a wide variety of seating options, including long communal tables with benches, individual tables with chairs, couches and lounge chairs, and booths.

Parkway Food Hall’s slogan on display. Photo by Sarah Kuta

Designers also added subtle nods to Longmont throughout the interior: A colorful selfie wall at the entrance pays homage to local sites like Union Reservoir and Rabbit Mountain, while the 40-guest private event room features historic, black-and-white photos of the city. The bathroom stall doors feature a large sticker shaped like a pine air freshener with the date of the city’s founding, 1871, and the words “Longmont, Keeping It Fresh.” “With the ambience, we wanted to do something that felt like maybe this could fit in RiNo but also felt at home in Longmont,” Nehls says.

The bar menu was also designed to appeal to Longmontsters—with creative craft cocktails and zero-proof options, but also a robust beer list. Parkway is partnering with local breweries to offer food hall exclusives, like a New Zealand–style Pilsner from Wibby Brewing. “This is a beer-drinking town, this is the craft brewery epicenter,” Nehls says. “If all goes to plan, you’re always going to be able to get a beer at Parkway you can’t get anywhere else in town, but also great cocktails.”

Assorted cocktails from Parkway Food Hall. Photo courtesy of Parkway Food Hall

The Eight Vendors at Parkway Food Hall

  • Baa Haachi: For their newest concept, the Balcoms brought on Adam Chan as head chef. Chan, who grew up in Hong Kong, has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants, including Tate Dining Room in Hong Kong and Ever Restaurant in Chicago.
  • Pie Dog Pizza: The food hall was also an opportunity for the Balcoms to open a physical location of their “ghost kitchen” pizza concept, Pie Dog, which they launched out of Farow’s kitchen in 2022. Previously, Pie Dog’s Neopolitan/New York–style pizzas were only available for delivery and pick-up.
  • H3ersh3r: Parkway is the first brick-and-mortar location for H3ersh3r, a Denver-based catering company and food truck helmed by chef Jeff Gebott. Menu items include cherrywood-smoked, Memphis-style baby back ribs; pulled pork sandwiches; smoked meat plates; chicken wings; and loaded macaroni and cheese.
  • Spice Fusion: Created by the owners of Gurkhas in Longmont and Boulder and led by chef Ram Kumar Shrestha, this new concept serves both Indian and Thai entrées. You’ll find dishes like pad thai, pad see ew, and drunken noodles on one side of the menu, as well as curry, chicken tandoori, and tikka masala on the other.
  • Cleaver & Co.: Serving up burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, and milkshakes, Cleaver & Co. expanded into Longmont after opening its first location at Junction Food & Drink.
  • Shawarma Shack: Also an expansion from Junction Food & Drink, Shawarma Shack offers gyros, shawarma wraps, hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel, baklava, and other Middle Eastern–inspired bites.
  • Chile con Quesadilla: Want to put mac and cheese on a taco or inside a quesadilla? Go right ahead—it’s on the menu at Chile con Quesadilla, along with lots of other outside-the-box concoctions. The Big Poppa, for example, features jalapeño, bacon, cream cheese, and shredded cheese, while the Triple B has brisket, cheese, green chile, bacon, crispy onions, and barbecue sauce.
  • HipPops: Founded in 2012 in Florida, the gelato-on-a-stick brand arrived in Denver in 2020. Diners can customize their pop with different gelato flavors, dips, and toppings.

700 Ken Pratt Boulevard, Unit 200, Longmont

Sarah Kuta
Sarah Kuta
Sarah Kuta is Colorado-based writer and editor. She writes about travel, lifestyle, food and beverage, fitness, education and anything with a great story behind it.