Developer Shane Quick stands at what will be the entrance to Mae's Food Hall
We love that Mae’s is going to be a venue that encourages a social atmosphere. Our goal isn’t to get you in here and get you out, it’s to get you in here and hang out here. That’s what Mae’s is going to be. That’s what Mae’s house was when she was alive, and that’s what Mae’s Food Hall is going to be, right here in Cullman.”Developer Shane Quick
CULLMAN - In the middle of Cullman’s Warehouse District along First Avenue Northeast, there stands . . . well, a warehouse. In the midst of renovated structures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that have been turned into a colorful assortment of trendy shops and eateries, it is the warehouse that looks like a warehouse: a big yellow sheet metal box amongst all the quaint old brick buildings. But that’s about to change.
According to developer Shane Quick (the mastermind behind Rock the South), “When we get done with this building, it’s going to be a beautiful addition to the Warehouse District, not just a yellow building anymore. We’re going to redo the facade this week; you’ll see an incredible difference in the building: it’ll actually match the Warehouse District.”
When Quick talks about what this development will add to the Warehouse District, he’s not just talking about the outside. Once the bricks go up outside and the furniture and equipment go up inside, the old warehouse will be Mae’s Food Hall, a multi-vendor dining venue (Imagine an old mall food court, if it featured only high-quality gourmet restaurants and chefs.) with lots of social space and classic arcade games.
Quick explained, “We’re calling it a culinary and social venue: a place to eat, drink and play. Basically, Mae’s is a 6,500-square-foot building that’ll feature anywhere from six to eight food options, along with shopping. The food hall allows entrepreneurs, who are just getting their start or who are wanting to go into a new market, to try their product on a new marketplace at a low-price overhead. Chefs from around the South, or even local chefs who want to sell their product: make burgers, make pizza, make ice cream, make doughnuts, from sushi to anything else- whatever it is that they do- Mae’s Food Hall will be a great place to try that out on the city. We want it to be an incubator for future restaurants in the city. We’d love for them to stay with us for years to come, but if they come here and do so well that it makes more sense for them to go build a restaurant because of their demand, that’ll be a proud moment for Mae’s.”
The food hall’s name came from Quick’s grandmother, “Linnie Mae is my grandmother,” he shared. “She was a massive influence on my life. Her home was a place where everyone felt comfortable, everyone left with their bellies full. She loved to play board games and different kinds of games. If you came over to her house, you might find yourself staying three hours instead of 30 minutes, and that’s what we hope this place is.”
Mae’s Food Hall is planned to be a social spot for a wide range of people with a wide range of tastes.
Said Quick, “We’ll have an arcade; we’re already sourcing classic arcade games from all over the country. We’re a bunch of arcade lovers. We’re talking about Skee-Ball, Donkey Kong and everything in between. It’ll be a place for all ages. It’s not an adult venue; it’s an all-ages venue. We want young millennials who are looking for a cool place to hang out to feel comfortable here, as well as people with kids. It’s going to be a very inspiring space when we get done. This is about experiencing fellowship, community, conversation; these are the things we want to see happen here. Even the seating in this venue will be designed in a way for people to sit next to each other, have conversations with each other, meet people that they didn’t know.”
Quick is excited that a little piece of family tradition is about to become part of the atmosphere of Cullman. He said, “We love that Mae’s is going to be a venue that encourages a social atmosphere. Our goal isn’t to get you in here and get you out, it’s to get you in here and hang out here. That’s what Mae’s is going to be. That’s what Mae’s house was when she was alive, and that’s what Mae’s Food Hall is going to be, right here in Cullman.”
Construction is underway, and Quick hopes to see Mae’s open for business this summer.
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