Mariano's Loses Pork & Mindy's as Dining Partner
Chicago-area grocery chain Mariano's plans to launch a new barbecue concept for its stores in the wake of dining partner Pork & Mindy's filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and closing all of its locations.
Founded by Food Network star Jeff Mauro and Harvard Business School grad Kevin Corsello in 2016, the fast-casual barbecue sandwich chain revealed in March that it would roll out 28 locations inside Chicago-area Mariano’s stores.
In the wake of the bankruptcy news, however, the Kroger-owned grocery chain issued a statement published by the Chicago Tribune: “Mariano’s is no longer offering Pork & Mindy’s products, as Pork & Mindy’s has filed for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.” In its place, the supermarket operator intends to launch a new food concept, Mariano’s Smokehouse.
According to the Tribune, an early indication that things weren’t going well for Pork & Mindy’s was the closing of the original Bucktown store in Chicago in August, with Mauro unveiling plans to convert the location into a private event space and training center. The eatery’s website still includes the Bucktown, Wrigley Field and Wells Street Market locations, as well as planned openings in Irving Park and Elwood Park, and provides a link to the Mariano’s site.
Mauro, whose first show on the Food Network was the Emmy-nominated “Sandwich King,” was the keynote speaker for Progressive Grocer’s Total Meal Solutions Summit. At the event, which took place Sept. 9-10 in Austin, Texas, he discussed his experiences in the food industry as well as the process and challenges of launching the Pork & Mindy’s concept for grocery retail foodservice.
The Pork & Mindy’s menu consisted of signature barbecue sandwiches, salads, seasoned tater tots and candied bacon known as “pig candy.”
With more than 40 locations throughout the Chicago metro area, Mariano’s is operated by Milwaukee-based Roundy's Supermarkets, a subsidiary of The Kroger Co. Kroger operates nearly 2,800 stores under a variety of banner names across the United States and ranks No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.