Boston’s newest food marketplace, Hub Hall, attracts tourists, locals alike


Courtesy of APIZZA

APIZZA is one of the 18 vendors that opened in Hub Hall, a new market located next to TD Garden.

Jennifer Suryadjaja, news correspondent

Boston is expanding its food hall scene with Hub Hall, a new, multi-vendor indoor market that opened Sept. 3.  Located next to the TD Garden and North Station, the modern industrial building houses 18 vendors of a range of cuisines.

APIZZA owner and chef Douglass Williams can be seen on some days working over the counter. The pizzeria specializes in New Haven and Roman-style pies and focuses on simple ingredients for its customers.

“We have construction workers, CEOs, tourists coming in and just grabbing a slice of pizza. Pizza is a universal love language, as is Italian food,” Williams said. “All we have to do is come through with the quality and the story and I think that people really gravitate towards that.”

When Williams opened APIZZA, a branch of MIDA, a South End and Newton pasta eatery, he wanted to tell the immigrant story by serving New Haven-style pizza. This style was popularized after Italians immigrated to the U.S. more than a century ago and sold pizza as a way of living. 

“We have two styles of pizza. One’s Roman: It’s a little thicker but still very delicate and tender. And then the other one being New Haven, which obviously carries some tradition,” Williams said. “We want to pay homage to the Italian immigrants and that culture and tell the immigrant story through pizza.”

Just across the Hall from APIZZA, Caffè Nero’s chief operating officer Paul Morgan wants to tell a story of travelers. Caffè Nero has locations in 11 countries, with roots firmly planted in Europe. Morgan wants travelers to feel comfortable and welcomed when they enter the Hall, and hopes that they do so when they see Caffè Nero. 

“What we do know is Europeans come over and they recognize Caffè Nero from home, whether it be Sweden or Poland or Ireland,” Morgan said. “People talk to me and they go, ‘Oh, I know Caffè Nero from back home,’ so that’s nice as well, it’s a recognition piece.”

The decision to open a location at Hub Hall came easy for Morgan.

“We’ve always sought to be part of a community but also we’re a brand where we put ourselves in areas of transport and high footfall,” Morgan said. “Hub Hall has really lended itself to both of those. It’s our opportunity to be a part of a person’s day, a part of their commute.”

The pandemic has complicated work in nearly every industry, but especially in the fields of restaurant and hospitality work. Morgan said that the shortage of labor supply and disruption in the global supply chain has caused some challenges for the long-awaited opening at Hub Hall. However, Caffè Nero persevered. 

“It was really fantastic to eventually get it open because there’s lots of challenges that come with delayed openings, such as recruiting a team and training in the meantime,” Morgan said. “Absolutely really pleased to finally get that over the line.”

The Smoke Shop BBQ’s owner and pitmaster Andy Husbands said he was happily surprised that his team could adapt to serving customers outside of a full service restaurant environment in a place he describes as aptly named the hub of Boston.

“We just thought it was a really cool opportunity to be involved with a really important space in Boston,” Husbands said. “I’ve grown up here. Going into that area [before] and seeing … what it is now, it was still very lively.”

Husbands said The Smoke Shop BBQ’s fifth location at Hub Hall is part of an important space in the city. 

“It’s just an opportunity to kind of reach more people that wouldn’t necessarily see us,” Husbands said.

For Williams, he hopes to serve food for those coming to Hub Hall as part of a bigger experience than for a mere game or event. 

“You’re catching people in the middle of a trip of their lifetime, or a concert of their lifetime, or a child’s first game,” Williams said. “Hopefully, they remember the pizza with the first time they saw their favorite Celtics player. I think that being a part of that memory is what life is about.”