A Tale of Woe Inside Durham Food Hall

Durham Food Hall was launched in an effort to give small business owners their start. But are legal and financial troubles, poor upkeep, and an allegedly hostile work environment getting in the way of that vision?

Last week, Lena Geller took a deep dive into the inner workings of the Durham Food Hall. Readers on Instagram and Twitter had a lot of thoughts.

From Instagram:

“Hindsight is 20/20, but I would estimate that these vendor and employee complaints are not unusual across most service and hospitality settings,” wrote @upbeatsitdown. “I’m not giving poor management a pass here (or anywhere), but from the baiting title on a COVER story I was expecting something more egregious, substantial, or definitive. Additionally, applying hindsight to decisions made during COVID is not the best look. Most every business struggled with when and how they could open and practice during that unprecedented time.”

“The DFH is a start-up. Adair Muller [sic] is a founder. Durham is meant to welcome this kind of innovation, vision, and energy,” wrote commenter @rycareyousley. “Let me rewrite the headline for you: ‘Local female business owner defies odds to open food hall amidst numerous COVID setbacks.’”

“This was a great article. As someone who worked in this industry for years, it’s no surprise to see yet another person with NO hospitality background try to open a venue like this,” wrote commenter @bl0ndambition. “Also loved the part about her surveilling the staff—this happens ONLY with deranged owners who have no idea what they’re doing.”

From Twitter:

“I’ve been disappointed with the Food Hall,” wrote @DurmBull. “We used to enjoy going but a lot of good places closed. The two food halls in Raleigh are much better.”

“Fascinating look inside DFH. I’ve been disappointed with its layout compared to Raleigh’s FH since covid restrictions lifted & it was obvious how little space is available for diners,” wrote @chrissydid. “Not surprised to read that layout behind the scenes is equally difficult for vendors.”

“Great article! The connection to O2 CEO Olander reminded me of the suspicious closing of the Elliot Rd location a couple months ago,” wrote commenter @forestwith2rs. “No warning, just rolled up to a boarded up gym and employees at other locations refuse to speak on it. Maybe poor business practices spilling over?”

“Glad you mentioned the complete lack of an elevator to the upstairs private event spaces. Honestly not sure how that’s even legal, ADA-wise,” wrote @erinmaddie24.

“My gosh this story needed an editor. It is all over the place,” wrote @RickDMartinez.

Editor’s note @RickDMartinez: Rude!

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle. 

Comment on this story at backtalk@indyweek.com.