Dallas Police Department Officer C. Marsh, center, waits for Robbin Plaza to dish out samples of food offered by The Caribbean Cabana at The Market's soft opening at Dallas Farmers Market Friday December 11, 2015

Dallas Police Department Officer C. Marsh, center, waits for Robbin Plaza to dish out samples of food offered by The Caribbean Cabana at The Market's soft opening at Dallas Farmers Market Friday December 11, 2015

Ron Baselice/Staff Photographer

Crews worked "all night" to get the new food hall at the Dallas Farmers Market ready for its debut Friday morning, said Brian Bergersen, president of Spectrum Properties, which operates and manages the farmers market. 

The Market is located in downtown Dallas.

The Market is located in downtown Dallas.

Ron Baselice/Staff Photographer

Organizers promised a Dec. 11 opening, and, yes, the food hall is open. But customers will find only about half of the dozen restaurants in operation.

The building is expected to be a bustling food hall when finished, similar to the Ferry Building in San Francisco or Oxbow Public Market in Napa Valley. Most or all of the tenants in Dallas should be cooking by late January, says Emily Valentino, director of operations at the Dallas Farmers Market.

For those visiting The Market now, organizers stress: "It's a soft opening."

The food hall is located in a building called The Market, formerly Shed 2, on the Dallas Farmers Market grounds. The Market is part of a $65 million project to renovate and remodel nearly every inch of the 75-year-old Dallas Farmers Market. 

Rex's sign went up on opening morning.

Rex's sign went up on opening morning.

Ron Baselice/Staff Photographer

Of the four corner tenants inside The Market, just Rex's Seafood at The Market was serving lunch as of Dec. 11. A taco shop called Taqueria La Ventana, a lunch place and market called Stocks & Bondy, and a shop selling banh mi sandwiches and ice cream sandwiches called Nammi/Coolhaus will open later.

A smaller shop, Doc's Popcorn, was in full operation on opening day. Other tenants nearby served food on fold-out tables, their shops still under construction.

Some, like La Popular Tamale House, were without electricity on Friday morning. That company is hoping to get going by Dec. 16, according to La Popular's Vanessa Moreno. Time is important, as the busy Christmas tamale season means La Popular runs a 24-hour business to prepare.

Even though more than half of the expected vendors are not open yet, there are still reasons to stop by.

New 'food hall' expected to open at Dallas Farmers Market very soon

Reason One: It's indoors. Passersby can stop into the restrooms and peruse the shops without needing to bundle up this winter. The Market especially convenient for those shopping for produce at the outdoor areas in the Dallas Farmers Market.

Reason Two: The restaurants and shops that are open are locally-owned, and they want your business. The now-open shops inside The Market are: healthy place Boom Juice, jam and jelly purveyor Betty's Blue Ribbon Fare, soap shop Abundantly Aromatic, small-scale grocer Market Provisions Co., retail store San Miguel Exporta, dessert and coffee place Chelles Macarons, plus the aforementioned Doc Popcorn and Rex's Seafood.

Some of the restaurants that have yet to open, like pizza place Bellatrino and jerk chicken shop Caribbean Cabana, are waiting on city permits, according to city records.

Eventually, The Market will be home to both established businesses and new ones, all under the same roof. Sasha Levine, the associate at CBRE who helped pick the tenants, says The Market is "the perfect cocktail" -- a mix of restaurateurs and shops that won't compete against one another.

As of right now, Levine says all of the spaces in the building have been leased. 

Two tenants, a British bakery and a meat market, will move in next year. More on those soon.

Look inside The Market:

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