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Celebrity Chef to Operate Rock Row Food Hall

From Rock Row

WESTBROOK – Award-winning chef, restaurateur, TV personality and cookbook author Akhtar Nawab and his New York based firm, Hospitality HQ (HHQ), has been chosen to manage and operate the Food Hall that is coming to Rock Row in Westbrook.

With Greater Portland widely recognized as an international destination for culinary excellence, the Rock Row Food Hall will be the only destination of its kind in the area, honoring the progressive and authentic ‘comfort based’ dining palette of the region along with Maine’s artisan craft-brew culture.

The hall will feature 15 offerings and 7 spirit tasting rooms, mixing artisan dishes with live music, onsite brews and events to delight every taste.

Chef Nawab and his company, Hospitality HQ, will oversee all management and operations of the Rock Row Food Hall, from design and culinary development to day-to-day logistics and guest services. Thoughtful consideration will be given to menu planning in order to showcase the area’s strong tradition of independently-minded, locally-owned, chef-driven flavors, cuisines and experiences.

“What excites me most about the Rock Row Food Hall is the eccentric and eclectic group of vendors that we will curate for all to enjoy,” said Chef Nawab. “Greater Portland has a rich culinary offering and local food culture that is world-renowned. We want Rock Row’s Food Hall to be a foundation of that culture and a showcase for the many rising stars in the local culinary scene to grow and shine.” 

Chef Nawab describes the Rock Row Food Hall as a place for “guests and chefs to be imaginative and curious” while respecting Maine’s casual and laid-back manner. A mix of local and regional culinary creators and brewers will be featured at Rock Row, thoughtfully blending a wide and exciting range of dishes and beverage pairings.

Rock Row is a 110-acre, $600-million development with more than two-million square feet of mixed-use office, retail, healthcare/medical and residential space. The project is being built around a 400’-wide natural stone quarry that is currently 300’ deep and naturally filled with water. Rock Row is expected to attract more than six million visitors a year when complete.

Rock Row’s storied past began in 1942, when Blue Rock Industries purchased a gravel pit located on the site of today’s quarry.

Announced Rock Row tenants include an 80,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Market Basket supermarket (open), Firehouse Subs, Big Fin Poke, The Paper Store (open), Chase, Chick-fil-A, 122-room boutique Element Hotel by Westin, REI, Starbucks, LIVE NATION Maine Savings Pavilion (open) and other retail, dining, entertainment and office tenants in the second largest retail and mixed-use development in New England.

A medical and research campus, anchored by renowned New England Cancer Specialists/Dana Farber Cancer Institute, is scheduled to open in late 2023.

Waterstone Properties purchased the quarry site in 2017. The project is the first of its kind in the state.

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