Food halls are having a moment. Just look at The Joinery, which opened in Lakeland in 2020, and Winter Haven’s upcoming Bowen Yard development. Polk County’s next food hall is ~20 minutes from downtown Lakeland. Meet The Depot 303, a new development under construction at 303 NW 1st Ave. in downtown Mulberry.
The project was first announced in 2022, and construction is slated to wrap up in April. The project is a partnership between the City of Mulberry and Lakeland companies Rodda Construction and Straughn Trout Architects, who shared the latest renderings of how the completed space will look.
Here’s what you can expect, by the numbers:
- 14,000 sqft (compared to 12,000 sqft at The Joinery)
- Space for seven food vendors, plus a bar, that will share a commercial kitchen
- Indoor and outdoor seating for 280+ visitors
- A $3-4 million price tag, paid by the Mulberry Community Redevelopment Agency
The Depot 303’s design will be inspired by the city’s roots in the railroad and phosphate mining industries. Even its name is a nod to former train depots. Expect to see railroad signage and subtle design elements throughout the space.
So, why is this food hall coming to Mulberry? Like Lakeland, the small city is currently experiencing rapid growth with its population expanding by 25% over the past five years. As Mulberry plans more downtown developments to keep up with its growth, it’s likely to become a popular destination for Lakelanders looking to explore outside of Swan City.
What you said
We asked which cuisine you most want to see at The Depot 303, and nearly 200 of you sent in your answers. Seafood was the most popular option, followed by tacos, burgers, and sushi.
Another 23% sent in more ideas for what the food hall should offer. These were some of the most common suggestions:
- Vegan options
- Italian food
- Asian cuisine
- Coffee + baked goods
Feedback also poured in on social media. On Instagram, @jennjillmartini said, “Happy to see Mulberry in the spotlight! Can’t wait for this to open.” The team at @sunkavacbd also expressed excitement, saying, “Having grown up in Mulberry, this is so beautiful to witness.”