San Diego

Food Hall Planned for Carlsbad's Iconic Windmill Building

The indoor and outdoor food hall will be helmed by local restaurateur James Markham, and is slated to open this summer

A new dining destination is breezing into a Carlsbad landmark: a food hall planned for the community’s iconic Windmill Building.

On Tuesday, the real estate services company Colliers International San Diego announced that local restaurateur James Markham would be opening the “Windmill Food Hall” this summer at the well-known space at 890 Palomar Airport Rd.

“That was one of the main reasons I wanted to do it was because everybody knows this spot," said Markham. "It's a central location and Carlsbad and North County needs something more communal." 

The Windmill Building is located near The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch and the Carlsbad Premium Outlets. If you’re in the seaside community, you can’t miss it.

The building was previously home to a TGI Fridays. Before that, locals may remember it’s incarnation as the traveler-friendly chain restaurant, Pea Soup Andersen’s.

The 12,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor restaurant space is currently vacant, but Colliers International said Markham recently signed a lease to transform it into an ambitious food hall project.

“We’re going to have 11 different food vendors," said Markham. "They’re going to be around the perimeter. We’re going to have pizza, empanadas, wagyu beef barbeque.” 

Markham is the restaurateur behind the Carlsbad-based fast-casual pizza chain, Project Pie, and other pizza-centric businesses like Pieology and MOD Pizza.

He also has experience in the food hall business, running a pizzeria called Doughballs and a breakfast spot called Crackheads, both at Liberty Public Market. 

Eater San Diego reports that Markham plans to bring both of those eateries up to the Windmill Food Hall. On top of the vendors, he'll include a 30 foot indoor-outdoor bar, games for children, antique furniture and seating space for more than 300 people.

The pay system at the food hall will be new technology never before used in California restaurants, Markham added. 

“When you walk into the main entrance. We’re going to give you either a key fob or bracelet," Markham explained. "When you walk up to each vendor and you want to pay you just swipe your wristband. It’s going to allow the food vendors to walk around and do full service.” 

Bill Shrader, Senior Vice President of Colliers Urban Property Team, seems to think this type of food concept will be a hit in the North County.

“Experiential retail and restaurant concepts will continue to thrive as consumers want choice when dining out,” Shrader said in a press release. “The Windmill Food Hall will deliver an exciting, new concept in one of North County’s iconic buildings.”

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