Mexico’s First Mall-Based “Food Hall” to Open in Tijuana

Food Garden Plaza Rio to Open April 2015

TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA – Food Garden, an operator of culinary spaces, has announced that Mexico’s first mall-based food hall will have its grand opening in Tijuana in April 2015. The new concept will include over 11,000 square feet of space within the city’s prestigious Plaza Rio.

The new space will include 12 kitchens run by some of the region’s most notable chefs, a specialty coffee shop, two bars that will serve beer, wine and spirits and a demo kitchen for culinary workshops and classes. Additionally, a Marché-style gourmet market will offer an array of regional products such as cheese, wine, chocolates and homemade desserts.

The set of projects is based on a “gastronomic ecosystem” designed to benefit Tijuana and Baja California’s producers, suppliers and restaurateurs. Food Garden will follow the city’s lead in its effort to encourage new culinary talents to participate in Tijuana’s burgeoning culinary scene.

While the space’s culinary tenants have yet to be announced, El Gringo has heard on good faith that the lineup may include a celebrity chef recently featured on a network television food show, a rotisserie from Tijuana’s most renowned French-trained chef, a longtime family-run restaurant that makes the best carnitas in Tijuana and a popular new burger joint.

“The food hall in Zona Rio will provide the space and opportunity for culinary experimentation,” explained Ricardo Nevárez, Food Garden president and Tijuana resident for over a decade. “Startup is a lot easier for young chefs since there’s a low initial investment and a pre-designed scheme that removes most of the guesswork that comes with restaurant or retail planning.”

Food Garden, Tijuana, Baja Norte, Mexico

Ricardo Nevárez started Food Garden as a collective of Tijuana’s best cuisine and continues with Plaza Rio.

Food halls have become a haven for foodies as well as neighborhood populations around Mexico and the globe. At food halls costumers can enjoy imaginative cuisine and shop for quality handmade products in an environment that offers value and expedience in service. Food halls represent an evolution of the proposal of “food courts” – which are based on the model of franchises and fast food.

I’m hungry for April already! Check back with El Gringo for more information on the Food Garden Plaza Rio, and check out our very first video blog at the top of this page, if you haven’t already. Buen provecho!

Your Gringo in Mexico,

About W. Scott Koenig (103 Articles)
San Diego-based lifestyle writer W. Scott Koenig is founder of the blog, author of the book 7 Days in The Valle: Baja California’s Wine Country Cuisine and writes columns for DiningOut San Diego Magazine, and Scott is also the Food Expert for Baja California at (formerly FoodieHub), an international culinary site curated by over 275 experts.

7 Comments on Mexico’s First Mall-Based “Food Hall” to Open in Tijuana

  1. Do any of the shops in your mall export stuff like chillies, chocolate and beans in smallish quantities? For example, 500 grams of ancho, chipotles, and kilo bags of beans?


  2. ooh! we’re planning a trip in April, hope the food hall is open by then


    • Hola Foodhoe! Thanks for your comment. The FoodGarden food hall is set to open first week of April and I believe are on target.

      Will you be visiting Tijuana only, or other spots in Baja California? You’re in for a treat, all of the food here is sooooo good. If you’re interested in hooking up during your trip, let me know via IM on FB. Once upon a time, Mr. Merrihue mentioned that he reimburses for meals that traveling Chowzters share 😉

      El Gringo


  3. Very exciting, Gringo! Really looking forward to the Food Hall. A pretty cool project.


  4. Food Garden was the first of its type in Tijuana, offering different kitchens under one “roof”, but definitely not the best option now days. We have 3 other “food gardens” in Tijuana – with way better taste and ambiance – you should visit them. The Food Hall is a great idea, I just hope that it’s true purpose is achieved, since Plaza Rio, is nothing but prestigious – it’s just strategic located.


    • Thanks for your comment Joel! Ricardo Nevárez shared with me the names of some of the potential tenants who may occupy the Plaza Rio space. And given the quality of these chefs, restaurants and vendors, I’d look for good things from this project.

      What are the other 3 “food gardens”? I’ve been to the Telefonica Gastro Park, which was outstanding.

      El Gringo


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