Hey Day Market food hall and gathering place nears grand opening

Graham Brooks | Communications Editor

One of the main goals of the Hey Day Market Food Hall and Gathering Place is to bring people together, and on Friday, Aug. 12, the Hey Day Market chefs and staff members welcomed Auburn students and faculty members for the first time to participate in a trial run to sample the variety of delicious food and beverage offerings before the anticipated opening for lunch on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

The Hey Day Market is a brand new multi-concept food hall at The Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center located on South College Street and East Thach Avenue. The food hall is open to students on campus, as well as the community.

While visitors sampled the unique food vendors for the first time, chefs and restaurant staff were hard at work seeing what was working, what needed tweaking and were eagerly taking in feedback. This was evident by a large whiteboard that was constantly updated with notes that included new music suggestions and best practice reminders.

The trial run for the nine vendors inside the food hall helped chefs perfect menu items, work on efficiency so customers could receive their food in a timely manner, test out equipment, see which food items were a hit and more.

Some vendors are brand new, however, vendors such as Little Darling Burger Co. is part of Lucy’s Restaurant Group, an already well established local Auburn restaurant. The pizza offered at the Hey Day Market comes from Ariccia, located inside The Hotel at Auburn University.

Other vendors located within the 10,000-square-foot food hall serve up delicious food including tacos, Malaysian street noodles, poke bowls, Cuban food, gelato and more that continues to highlight Auburn’s fast growing culinary scene.

The food hall’s name, “Hey Day Market” is actually an ode to a beloved Auburn tradition known as “Hey Day.” Dating all the way back to World War II, Auburn University’s student body pushed for a day that would unite the Auburn Family and promote a friendly atmosphere known as Hey Day. Each year, the university carries on this tradition of handing out name tags and encouraging students and faculty to greet one another.

Fast forward to the beginning of the 2022 fall semester, and Auburn students now have a fun new place to gather for delicious food, conversations and more. Whether a student chooses to visit between classes or on the weekend the market will be open seven days a week.

Incoming Auburn freshmen Isabella Neil and Hannah Kennedy both heard about the Hey Day Market trial run on social media and decided to give it a try. Neil and Kennedy were able to try two of the food vendors and explained how beneficial the Hey Day Market food hall will be moving forward.

“I got to try La Cubanita and then I got to try the gelato,” Neil said. “I would say the area this is in is most beneficial because it’s only a couple of minutes for me to walk here living on campus so it’s just so much easier.”

Kennedy was able to create her own poke bowl and also said the location is one of her favorite things.

“I’ve been to a mall where there’s different options but nothing where it’s only food places,” Kennedy said. “We do live a lot further away from the other dining halls but this is nice because it’s just really good food.”

Other exciting features of the Hey Day Market besides fresh, sustainable food production includes moderately priced meals, which are prepared and served within minutes, a bar and one incubator space for hospitality management students to showcase their dish and learn how to run a business. The Hey Day Market food hall and gathering place will open for lunch on Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, then beginning Aug. 23 for lunch and dinner from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

For more information on the Hey Day Market, visit ranecenter.auburn.edu.