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Kroger Reveals ‘Comfort Food’ Restaurant Concept

Jenny - author

Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. is the latest retailer to join the “grocerant” business, with plans to open a new restaurant concept called Kitchen 1883 in late October.

The pilot will be expanded if it’s successful, Kroger spokeswoman Kristal Howard told Progressive Grocer. “Customer feedback will certainly shape our future expansion plans,” she said.

The restaurant will be located at 9003 U.S. Highway 42 in suburban Union, Ky., adjacent to a new Kroger Marketplace that opened this week.

“With Kitchen 1883, our goal is to create a gathering place that offers a genuinely delicious place to relax and experience our food,” said Daniel Hammer, Kroger’s VP of culinary development and new business. “The restaurant will feature a made-from-scratch menu, hand-crafted cocktails and a community-centered atmosphere.”

Kitchen 1883, which pays homage to the year the Kroger Co. was founded, will offer “a fresh take on new American comfort food,” serving lunch and dinner daily, along with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

While it’s the first restaurant for Kroger, the concept builds on the retailer’s successful foray into prepared meals.

“This is just an extension of us innovating and exploring the foodie and culinary space,” Howard said. “The culinary development and new business team that’s putting it together is the same talent behind our meal kits.”

One example of a menu item at Kitchen 1883 is braised beef short ribs with horseradish mashed potatoes and charred carrots, she said.

Part of New Marketplace Store

Union, Ky., located in Boone County, has nearly 6,000 residents and is considered one of the wealthiest towns in Kentucky, with a median household income above $100,000. Kroger’s new 135,000-square-foot Marketplace there includes a fuel center, a separate 8,000-square-foot liquor store and an in-store Starbucks coffee shop.

Kroger has launched a website that’s initially being used to attract talent for its restaurant. The company said it is seeking team members who “have a passion for people and the food that people love to eat.” Team members will be encouraged to share their passion for food with guests and help create an environment focused on hospitality and quality service that is “unmatched in the industry,” according to the company. It said it will offer competitive pay, rewards and benefits to its employees.

This is the first stand-alone restaurant for the national chain, which operates 2,793 retail food stores under a variety of banner names in 35 states and Washington, D.C. The company additionally operates its ClickList online ordering service, 2,258 pharmacies, 783 convenience stores, 307 fine jewelry stores, 222 retail health clinics, 1,472 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food production plants.

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