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Business Beacon: Inside Destin City Food Hall

Editor’s note: This month’s Business Beacon is a spotlight on City Food Hall Destin, a gathering place that showcases both veteran and up-and-coming chefs under one roof. Co-founder Kenzie Motai talks to us about sourcing food vendors, how technology fuels their business, and the opportunity to feature local chefs. Find them on Facebook, Instagram and the web.

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Co-founders, Destin City Food Hall, Kenzie Motai and Peter Rounce

1. How did you get the idea or concept for your business?

KM: My business partner and I used to be a part of a New Orleans-based food hall company, and during the pandemic, we decided to start our own.

2. Let’s discuss numbers: What year did you open? How many locations do you have? How many people do you employ?

KM: We opened on March 4, 2023. We currently have one location in Destin with another two opening later this year in Gainesville, Florida, and Athens, Georgia. We currently have 35 employees in our Destin location.

3. What do you sell or what service do you provide? What’s your best seller?

KM: We have 10 different unique food vendors. Vendor performance is not always based on cuisine but on how the local population responds to their specific cuisine, their operational know-how, and marketability.

4. What’s unique about what you do or offer?

KM: We curate the best local chefs of the region under one roof — we are one of the most experienced food hall operators in the country and have proprietary software, as well as proprietary methods to select food hall locations, vendors, etc.

5. How would you describe your business to a potential customer?

KM: We create culinary communities that showcase both veteran and up-and-coming chefs under one roof. We have 10 different eateries, one central bar, and two Top Golf swing suites.

6. What do you love most about your line of work?

KM: The development of our vendors and the ability to interact with guests in a diverse environment.

7. What sorts of trends are you seeing in your industry?

KM: The use of technology to understand our guests’ preferences and habits, and the use of social media to reach guests who are looking for an experience we offer in our food hall.

8. Tell me in just a sentence or two what you feel sets you apart from your competitors.

KM: Our gathering spaces are an intersection where creativity, culture, and flavor come together. Offering a springboard for chefs to grow their businesses, we are a culinary destination where friends and family can spend time together sharing great food and drinks, with a side of entertainment.

9. Who or what inspires you? This could be a family member or celebrity, a particular quote or even a book/movie/podcast. The sky’s the limit!

KM: Danny Meyer (Editor’s note: Danny Meyer is a restaurateur and founder of Union Square Hospitality Group.)

10. What’s the best thing about being a part of the Emerald Coast, personally and/or professionally?

KM: We love how friendly everyone in the community is.

11. Are you/your business involved in the community in any way? Volunteering or giving back? If so, how?

KM: We commit to doing a charity event once a quarter.

12. Just the deets, please! Where are you located? Business hours? Social media profiles and/or website links we need to know about? (Please feel free to add social media handles or direct links!)

KM: We’re located in Destin Commons, 4237 Legendary Drive, H100, Destin, FL 32541. Find them on Facebook, Instagram and the web.

13. One final question: If there was just one thing you wish the public knew about your business, what would it be?

KM: We feature local businesses!

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