The IKEA-affiliated Ingka Centres collaborated with a British hospitality firm to create a new paradigm for the mall food court. Will cocktails, Scandinavian pastry, and abundant plant-based options bring in crowds?

What's arguably going to be the biggest food debut in San Francisco this spring is happening Thursday in the IKEA-anchored shopping center on mid-Market — where, as of now, IKEA is still the only retail draw. And IKEA's mall-development arm, Ingka Centres, is betting that by borrowing from both modern food halls and the mall food court model, with some booze and a lot of plant-based options thrown in, Saluhall will be a foot-traffic draw all on its own.

From the get-go with this project, Ingka Centres has said that this won't be any ordinary mall, and the company has taken a slow and deliberate pace with filling out the tenant mix in the six-story complex. The top floor is occupied by a co-working space called Hej! Workshop — which doubles as a showroom for IKEA's office furniture line — that opened in January.

The company imagines that a shopping center could do quadruple duty as a community gathering hub, dining destination, and place of entertainment as well as being a retail space. The Mall of America arguably pioneered this decades ago, and malls are already pivoting in the local area, like Stonestown Galleria, which has leaned into Asian food vendors and is about to get a Japanese-style arcade.

At Saluhall, five local food vendors were recruited, two of them entirely plant-based. Oakland vegan taco outfit Taqueria la Venganza will serve all plant-based tacos. vegan Puerto Rican restaurant Casa Borinquena, also out of Oakland, will be serving pastelillos filled with plant-based meats. Indian fusion chain Curry Up Now will serve its usual omniverous fare. Food stand Kayma, which has relocated from La Cocina's short-lived Tenderloin food hall, will serve Algerian couscous bowls and more. And Asian noodle truck Momo Noodle will serve its Sichuan egg noodles topped with meat or tofu.

The in-house food stalls at Saluhall will include an oat-milk soft-serve stand called Snöberg and a plant-based burger stand called Burgare Bar — which, as the Chronicle previews today, will serve Beyond Meat patties, with some very Scandinavian topping options including vegan fish roe, seaweed, and smoked vegan cheese.

The main, full-service restaurant is called Smörgåsland, where the executive chef is Mathias Andersen, who previously opened a now-closed Nordic food hall in New York's Grand Central Terminal with Noma co-founder Claus Meyer. Meyer, who owns a chain of well-known bakeries in Denmark, helped develop the Smörgåsland concept, which includes pastries like cinnamon rolls, egg danishes, and cardamom buns, as well as smørrebrød, open-faced sandwiches on rye bread. There will also be full entrees available, though we don't yet have a menu — but the Chronicle notes that there is one open-faced Dungeness crab louie salad sandwich with avocado, in a nod to San Francisco.

There are also three bars in the space — two of which are connected. There is a beer bar called Lagom Bar, which will offer a new Fort Point Nordic-style lager as well as fruit-juice raddlers; and a pair of nesting cocktail bars, Punsch Bar, and the more intimate Sauna Bar.

Ian Dodds, the co-founder of KERB, the London firm that helped curate the food offerings Kerb, said earlier that he's "excited by the scale and ambition of Saluhall," which draws on the firm's experience creating London's Seven Dials Market. "We believe from the brilliant local vendors to the in-house bakery, burger bar and bar offers, we have a landmark location to breathe life into Market Street."

There is also a cooking school that will be central to Saluhall and help activate the space — and we're told Mayor London Breed will be demo-ing some part of cinnamon roll making at the opening event on Thursday.

Saluhall opens Thursday, April 11 at 11:30 am. Regular hours for most vendors will be 11 am to 10 pm, and Smörgåsland will be open from 8 am to 10 pm. Check the website here (it's currently down).