Opening a new food hall during a pandemic seems like terrible timing to say the least. But Jacx&Co, which started serving last Wednesday and boasts a terrific lineup of food vendors, isn't really going after the destination diner, or even luring in the trickle of passersby from LIC's Jackson Avenue.

"It's an amenity for the workers upstairs," says Daniel Cabrera, the Jacx&Co general manager, referring to the 1.2 million square feet of office space in the pair of Tishman and Speyer towers that sit above the food court. There are also the residents of Jackson Park across the street, again managed by the mega-developer and boasting nearly 2,000 luxury rental apartments in three separate buildings.

While Cabrera says outdoor dining will be coming to Jackson Avenue, right now the area out front looks like a construction site. Unlike the typical food hall of the past, delivery will play a major role here, but if you head over in person note that the entrance is discreet, with the only signage an elevated, recessed neon number that can't be seen until you're right in front of the place, and does nothing to signal all the great food available inside.

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And the food really is very good here. There are nine different vendors, covering most of your basic cravings, and each rolling out with a surprisingly extensive menu.

Lotus + Cleaver, for example, is a new Cantonese barbecue and build-a- bowl concept from Erika Chou and Doron Wong of two stellar Manhattan restaurants, Wayla and Kimika, as well as the late, lamented Yunnan BBQ on Clinton Street and the Northern Tiger booth at Hudson Eats in Battery Park City. I had the Heritage Pork Charsiu Bowl, the eight-grain rice topped with juicy, well-seasoned pig, stir-fried mushrooms, and garlicky bok choy, and it was extremely satisfying. Other creations revolve around Rotisserie Chicken, Red Braised Beef, and Crispy Fish.

Chef JJ Johnson brings his acclaimed Harlem rice bowl spot FieldTrip to the hall, and the menu includes BBQ Brisket over Texas brown rice, Salmon over China black pineapple fried rice, and Shrimp over sticky rice. I opted for the fried Crispy Chicken, which was drenched in a sweet barbecue sauce and served atop a pile of Carolina gold fried rice, a side of greens bringing both brightness and bitterness to the proceedings.

With both of their storefront locations currently closed, the only place you can get Crif Dogs in NYC right now is here at Jacx&Co, and though their hot dogs and tater tots don't come with the rowdy, ramshackle vibe of the 19-year-old St. Marks original, they're still among the best in town.

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The superb Taim is also here, with its usual mix of falafel, hummus and shawarma, available on platters or in pitas. Beebe's pizza, Ivy Stark's Mexology (think tacos, burritos, and quesadilla), and Al Volo, serving Italian crowd pleasers from the Levante team down the block, round out the vendors on the main floor.

Upstairs there's an outpost of Bowery's popular Kissaki, where you can get everything from a $15 yellowtail roll for lunch to a sushi-bar-seated $160 omakase during dinner hours. But the stealth winner at Jacx&Co is Ghaya, which is separated slightly from the rest of the bunch and, because it's the only place that serves breakfast, also has its own entrance to the street.

The Ghaya is Ghaya Oliveira, who won a James Beard award for her pastries at Daniel, and here offers a full menu of sweet and savory dishes, often harking back to her native Tunisia. There's Poulet, a pistachio-crusted drumstick served on mashed sweet potatoes with sour cherry dressing, a "crispy and confit" Duck, a Pkalia Croüte topped with spinach and fried chickpeas, and a collagen veal bone Broth. I ate Oliveira's Boulette, a trio of meatballs infused with mint leaves and covered in a runny fried egg, with a hefty side of mushrooms, and it was superb.

As for the soaring, industrial-looking space itself, the overall aesthetic reads like a mashup of boutique hotel lobby and contemporary corporate cafeteria. There's a main dining area with tables and baguettes, some with chairs made from what look like giant corks, as well as several more intimate nooks. Even with the current 25% capacity rules, GM Cabrera says that about 80 people can dine inside the massive space, though each must submit to a QR-activated contact tracing questionnaire and temperature check.

Cabrera has a background in hotels, and the emphasis on hospitality is palpable at Jacx&Co. Even though all of the main-level stands operate in standard counter service fashion—disposable containers are used for lunch, with actual dishware reserved for the after-5 crowd—there's a team of friendly floor roamers who keep things tidy and offer you water. Booze will also be flowing from the on-site bar in about a month.

Jacx&Co is located at 28-17 Jackson Avenue, between 42nd Road and Queens Plaza South, and is currently open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., except for Ghaya, which is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Saturdays and Sundays for now (929-510-7040;