DoorDash Just Opened a Virtual Food Hall with Actual Seating

The new space in Downtown Brooklyn is delivery-focused but also offers indoor dining and takeout.

DoorDash new food hall
Photo: Nimbus

Delivery services like DoorDash were born out people's desire to eat restaurant food at home and, thanks to mobile ordering, to barely have to interact with those restaurants in the process. Eventually, the industry realized, Hey, if people don't want to interact with the actual restaurant, why even have an actual restaurant? And virtual kitchens were born. Then came the next step: If the kitchens are virtual, why not just have food from a bunch of different restaurants delivered out of the same place?

But now, the concept is coming ironically full-circle. If you have a complex that's already serving food from multiple restaurants, and you have room for seating, why not let people dine in? And thus, meet the "virtual" food hall that also has indoor seating..

DoorDash announced yesterday that their ghost kitchen arm (known as DoorDash Kitchens) had opened a location in Brooklyn that also includes limited indoor seating, a first for the brand. The company stresses that this new food hall is still very much delivery-centric — so don't expect Michelin-starred service — but 20 people can eat in at a time.

"DoorDash Kitchens Brooklyn is optimized for delivery, whereas many food halls are focused on their on-premises offerings," Ruth Isenstadt, senior director of DoorDash Kitchens, told Nation's Restaurant News. "All of the restaurants within DoorDash Kitchens feed into a unified dispatch area, where DoorDash supports the handoff of orders to Dashers and customers. To provide a seamless experience, Dashers pick up orders at a distinct window outside of the building."

DoorDash Kitchens Brooklyn at Nimbus, as the Downtown space is officially called, launches this week with three NYC eateries — sushi restaurant DomoDomo, Southern-inspired Pies 'n' Thighs, and dim sum specialists Kings Co Imperial — as well as the San Francisco-based Korean bowls brand Moonbowls. Soon to come? Little Caesars pizza. And finally, on-site customers can also score other goodies including beverages from Birch Coffee, pastries from Kado Patisri, and treats from Milk Bar.

Isenstadt stated that the dine-in option was intended to further help the brands working out of the ghost kitchen. "New York City and Brooklyn are two distinct locations, where there isn't always consumer overlap," she was quoted as saying. "We heard from our restaurant partners that being able to serve Brooklyn — some for the first time like DomoDomo — is a helpful way to reach more customers and test a new location without committing to a brick and mortar."

If you're a Brooklynite interested in entering the alternate dimension of dine-in virtual kitchens, DoorDash Kitchens Brooklyn is open for dine-in from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., ending with an hour of takeout food only from 10:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. (though the service times of individual restaurants vary).

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