Patty and John Wall blended their backgrounds to create one of the hottest spots in town. Patty, a former chef/caterer, and John, a commercial real estate developer, created Malcolm Yards, a popular food hall which features 9 kitchens, a bar, and a self-pour tap-wall. It is also host to many public events and is just the beginning of the larger Malcolm Yards neighborhood including a variety of housing and other uses such as parks, trails, and public art.
The previously vacant historic Harris Machinery building in Minneapolis has been completely reimagined. Before Malcolm Yards was born, Patty and John travelled around the country and met with other food hall developers. They realized the potential it had to make a positive impact and restore run-down neighborhoods.
“I am so blown away. I spent two years talking to as many people as I could and everybody was very positive about the whole idea,” Patty said. “I realized what it was like from the guest experience; to walk into some of these places and how cumbersome it was. How do I order? Where do I stand? I thought there’s a better way to do this.”
With all the technology that is out there, the Wall Duo wanted to streamline processes to make things run more efficiently. A popular spot at Malcolm Yards is the self-pour tap wall – in which they go through almost 200 kegs a week that showcase beers from all over the Midwest. The food vendors are all handpicked with exceptional foods – including one vendor being recognized for having some of the best pizza in the United States.
“I was looking for the perfect pizza concept and knew I had found it with Wrecktangle Pizza,” Patty said.
While there’s many great things about Malcolm Yards, John and Patty admit there’s a lot of upkeep when it comes to running a business in a historic building, such as trying to keep much of the character, including graffiti.
“I’m the real estate guy, so we’re trying to map this as a master plan for the community. It’s not just about the food hall. When you start with the first building, it seems like this is all we have but this is a community we’re building. It’s so fun and I’m grateful I get the chance to do it,” John said.
While Malcolm Yards proves to be a success, there were some hard blows as Patty credits her husband for being tenacious during the process.
“The tenacity John has had for this project is incredible. He bought the land in 1999 and had to switch it up half-way through. The fact that he listened to my idea and believed in me was very cool. He was the solid person in this,” Patty said.
Although, hard work pays off as they’ve learned so much and have been tapped by others to create more around the country.
“We honestly didn’t know if this was going to work when we did this. We’ve now been asked by developers all around the country to open these because the model has been so successful,” Patty said.
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