Long before the September opening of Element Eatery, Madisonville’s new 34,500-square-foot food hall, Managing Director Tyler Troendle and Development Advisor Seth Barnhard visited more than 40 food halls around the country to evaluate what they liked about them.
“What we’re most excited about is to bring that to Cincinnati,” Troendle says. “All these different pieces from different food halls from other major cities.”
First, of course, is the food. Eight primary stalls serve up a variety of cuisines—including the BBQ joint Four Mile Pig, Taco Oso, Rokaru Ramen, po’boy stand Little Easy, mofongo slinger MashRoots, and soul food eatery San Jeanetta’s Table—allowing visitors to try something new or pick a twist on a familiar favorite. There’s also a salad bar, Urbana Coffee stand, La Grassa Gelato stand, and beer garden and bar.
When Guillermo Vidal and Arnaldo Vazquez started MashRoots out of the Findlay Kitchen incubator in 2017, they aimed to serve delicious Latin American food that was hard to find in Cincinnati, like their signature dish mofongo, which consists of fried plantains with garlic, salt, and olive oil, mashed with a wooden pilon and paired with meats, sauces, and veggies.
Vidal says being in a high traffic food hall allows them to celebrate Latin culture on a whole new level with its communal spaces and proximity to what Vidal sees as MashRoots’ key demographic: on-the-go millennial and Gen Z young professionals, interested in trying new foods and flavors.
“You’ve got nearby Madeira, Oakley, Hyde Park—a lot of people going to Anderson or other east side communities travel through that corridor,” Vidal says. “We’re accessible to Mason, Blue Ash, Montgomery, a place where a lot of Hispanics are living.”
Seating up to 400 indoors and 200 outside on three terraces, the space is designed to have quiet dining spots and lively gathering spaces, which will host acoustic live music inside and bands on an outdoor stage, plus places to gather for a Cincinnati Reds and Bengals games.
Situated between The Summit Hotel and new cocktail bar Placebo off Madison Road, the eatery is part of the $250 million urban adaptive reuse project, Madison Square, jumpstarted by the move of Medpace, a clinical research organization, from Norwood to the former property of residential intercom manufacturer NuTone.
“We’re really trying to etch ourselves out as a premier dining location with more restaurants coming,” Troendle says. “It’s a great place where you can park, get an appetizer and drink at the food hall, or dine somewhere else. We want people to always feel there is something new to be had here.”
Element Eatery, 5350 Medpace Way, Madisonville, element-eatery.com