In an initial report from Raleigh’s WRAL News on May 7, it was announced that a new dining experience will be available in the town of Knightdale. Slated for a late Summer grand opening Craften, a New Knightdale Food Hall, will feature an array of selections and some convenient twists just a few minutes outside your front door at the Knightdale Station new home community.
The announcement for this new excursion is one of two new Craften food hall’s planning to open in the area, with a second location slated for Clayton. The idea actually comes from the collective brain of NC Food and Beverage podcast host Max Trujillo and renowned entrepreneur Kip Downer. In a follow-up news article on May 14 by the News and Observer (N&O), the name Craften came simply from combining the words “craft “and “kitchen.” Thus, it seems fitting, as the actual restaurant itself is less your traditional restaurant and more a “food hall hybrid.”
Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is
While Downer has a background in development, Trijullo is a longtime restaurant and food industry veteran. He co-hosts a podcast about area food and beverage establishments called the NC F&B podcast. Likewise, he has worked the front house of restaurants all across American, spanning from Los Angeles to Raleigh. He spoke on Craften, though being the first venture of his into ownership. “I figured it was time to put my money where my mouth is,” he began.
“We thought about not just what people want in a pandemic, but what people are longing for regarding the restaurant experience,” Trujillo continued explaining to the News and Observer. “It takes the best of food halls and restaurants. It fuses together the variety of a food hall and the hospitality of a restaurant.”
The New Knightdale Food Hall is described in further detail at the operation’s new official website craftenfood.com. In telling their brand’s story, they begin under a subheading titled, “Born out of our love for the local food scene, craft drinks, and the desire to bring communities together.” The story goes on to explain that “Craften is part cocktails, part craft kitchens, and a 100 percent space for all to enjoy.”
Evolution and the New Knightdale Food Hall
The concept of their ideas for Craften were discussed with the N&O in a May 14 article. There, Trujillo said the following. “I’ve seen the chefs of new and opening establishments put most of their emphasis on the kitchen and the menu.” This often will lead to a lack of thought put into the front end of a restaurant. He also explained that he feels the typical food hall experience can also, at times, lack hospitality.
“I like the variety; friends have different eating habits and restrictions, and everyone wants what they want, and they don’t have to compromise.” He added, “We almost don’t want to identify as a food hall. It’s the evolution of the food hall and an expansion of a restaurant.”
Backing this train of thought on their website, it reads as follows. “Although some might call us a food hall, we hope you find Craften to be a little bit more. Offering a variety of options from carefully curated food concepts, the convenience goes beyond having options. No more are the days of splitting up to order food. Or jumping back in line to get a second round of fries or drinks.”
New Knightdale Food Hall Bringing Downtown to Your Neighborhood
The great success of two downtown Raleigh Food Halls, Morgan Street Food Hall and Transfer Co. Food Hall, began a trend in the area, indirectly leading to the New Knightdale Food Hall starting to be conceptualized between the two co-owners. With Craften, though, the two owners are looking to bring this concept from the bigger city downtown areas to the more suburban areas, hence the choices of Knightdale and Clayton. “All the things you think you need to drive downtown for, you can have in your own neighborhood,” Trujillo said.
The two are waiting to see the success of the first food hall venture. But, Trujillo explained these could be just thefirst two of many he brings to area suburbs. “We’re not completely reinventing the wheel,” he added. “There’s an opportunity and excitement to smaller towns…from doing the podcast. I know this place is growing and expanding.”
There are four restaurants slated to go at the Knightdale location. They are Poblanos Tacos, Fiori Trattoria, The Corner Venezuelan Food, and Fianca Burger. The new food hall will be located in Knightdale at 706 Money Court. Their second location in Clayton is under 20 minutes from Knightdale Station also. The Clayton location is set for opening by the end of 2021.
For further information on the Knightdale Station neighborhood, visit knightdalestation.com