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Photo by Cori Baker

All we wanted for Christmas was Legacy Hall. And we got it. On opening day, visitors from all over DFW mobbed the doors, staring in wonder, trying to decide if they wanted shwarma, or a naan wrap; a Berry Naked popsicle or a whole chicken from Bravazo Rotisserie. Just a few months ago it was still a theory, empty stalls and plastic sheets covering all the furniture. Read more: See all the food we tried at Legacy Hall Now, however, in all of its glory, Legacy Hall is, well, glorious. Every single one of the 20-odd food stalls—not even including the bars—serves unique dishes. Many of them, like John Tesar’s Knife Burger, and Glazed Donuts Company, are Dallas down to the bone, doubling their market with this Plano expansion. While Frisco residents will drive to Deep Ellum for Monkey King Noodle, now they don’t have to. The food hall is the best of Dallas, reflecting the artistry and passion of our local chefs.  According to the Wall Street Journal who cited data from Cushman & Wakefield, in 2016 the number of food halls in the U.S. swelled by 37 percent in 2016. Growing up, I didn’t have Legacy Hall. I had Chili’s. But now, Plano can sustain a food hall  and a huge variety of interesting, often outlandish cuisines all under one roof. That tells us something about how the city has grown. There simply isn’t anything like Legacy Hall here. New York is used to food halls; Texas isn’t. Now we can be familiar and moreover, people will come to see the hall. It’ll be as good at bringing in hungry tourists as it will attracting locals. Legacy Hall particularly appeals to millennials who will take to their vegan donuts, craft beer and affordable prices like ducks to water. There really is something for everyone there. Even the most picky eater can grab a cheese pizza at Forno Nero and leave happy. No two stalls are alike, Enter the Bao’s graffitied counter and chalk-drawn kung fu piggies face off against Roots Chicken Shak’s ceramic rooster and antique blue tiles. Press Waffle Co. and Whisk & Eggs look as if they’ve been cut out of Europe and stitched into place in Plano. DéTour resembles a French subway tunnel. Each stall is wildly unique, but unified, flowing into each other and bringing you along.

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Dallas’ foodies, like former Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner have in the past years cautioned that the market for restaurants might be growing too big to be sustained as diners rush from new restaurant to amazing new restaurant. Legacy Hall offers a chance to slow down, look around and appreciate what has been built. From Taco Patron to Degenhardt’s Brat Haus, Everett and Elaine, FaQ’s, Haute Sweets Patisserie, Sea Breeze Lobsta’ and Chowda’ House, Legacy Hall doesn’t just serve the best of Texas, but the best food from around the world. I haven’t had a currywurst so good outside of Germany until I tried the one served at Degenhardt’s Brat Haus. Red Stix Yakitori & Banh Mi presented a deliciously smoky chicken skewer that was cooked in front of me, flames catching all around it. Just a few feet away, Blist’r Naan Wraps serves warm homemade naan, wrapped around tender chicken tikka. Furthermore, Legacy Hall is home to Plano’s first ever brewery, Unlawful Assembly, where guests can not only learn about this local craft beer, but try it, tour it and immerse themselves in it. In the Tap Room, they can pair it with housemade pretzels. A brewery, a food hall and collaboration from some of our best chefs—these are things that put a city on the international culinary map.

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By Cori Baker

Surprisingly, the hall has a neighborhood feel, courtesy of the warm light on repurposed wood tables and strategic gathering points. The main bar on the bottom floor is a great example, luring diners in for a cocktail. People gather at high tables, leaning over to ask strangers where they got that mouthwatering pizza, or if they’ve stopped by FreshFin Poké Co. yet. Legacy Hall has a built-in sense of community. Every piece of food feels participatory, made in open kitchens where all of the art is on display. Especially once the biergarten opens, Legacy Hall will serve as a landmark, a meeting place and cultural center based around the table. Plano has always been a close-knit community; Legacy Hall is a gigantic dinner table.