The first Kroger supermarket with a food hall opened this week in a new urban-format store in downtown Cincinnati.
Called On The Rhine Eatery, the venue features five restaurants offering Asian, Western, barbecue, American bistro and food truck-style fare. Indoor and outdoor seating can accommodate up to 200 customers, and a full-service bar serves signature cocktails, local beer, wine and Kentucky bourbon.
The two-level, 52,000-square-foot supermarket, located in Cincinnati’s central business district at 100 East Court St., anchors an 18-story apartment building and is a block away from The Kroger Co. headquarters. Kroger noted that the store is accessible to downtown workers and residents, as well as customers from the city’s Over-the-Rhine and West End neighborhoods.
“Kroger is thrilled to introduce our first food hall and offer a one-of-its-kind shopping experience in our hometown of Cincinnati, providing a convenient location to experience delicious, quality meals and foods. This innovative destination highlights Kroger’s food-first culture,” Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a statement. “Kroger’s new store offers something for everyone. We invite all to visit the store to meet our wonderful associates, shop for fresh groceries and discover their new favorite restaurant.”
Vendors in the food hall include the second location of Kitchen 1883 Café and Bar, Kroger’s American restaurant that made its debut in November 2017 next to a Kroger Marketplace store in Union, Kentucky. Kitchen 1883 offers dishes like flatiron steak panini, brussel sprouts salad and coconut milk smoothies, along with breakfast and weekend brunch.
DOPE! Asian Street Fare offers ramen, dumplings, bao buns and dishes inspired by street food throughout Asia, plus Vietnamese iced coffee and global libations. There’s also Mexican food with an American flair from Django Western Taco, led by homemade tortillas produced with Ohio corn, jackfruit carnitas and jerk chicken quesadillas. The restaurant also serves handcrafted margaritas, breakfast and weekend brunch.
The food hall, too, includes a couple of Cincinnati favorites. Eli’s BBQ, which Kroger said has a cult following, offers hickory-smoked pork sandwiches topped with homemade barbecue sauce, as well as ribs, smoked turkey and sides like jalapeno cheddar grits and macaroni and cheese. Queen City Whip, a popular local food truck, has its first brick-and-mortar location at the hall, serving up made-to-order burgers, chili dogs and milkshakes.
“On The Rhine Eatery features emerging restaurants and true tastes of Cincinnati, all handpicked by Kroger’s culinary team to create a popular hangout for meals, cocktails and community,” commented Teri Rose, senior director of culinary development for Kroger. “Cincinnati is Kroger’s hub for culinary innovation and experimentation, and the food hall is an example of the types of concepts and ideas we’re creating every day.”
Meanwhile, the new Kroger supermarket features grab-and-go and ready-to-heat meals for lunch and dinner, along with fresh fruit and vegetables, in a traditional grocery shopping experience. The store, open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., also serves an exclusive Starbucks coffee blend as well as a walk-up window for beverage orders. Kroger said the store will offer grocery delivery, and it plans to add delivery service for the restaurants.
This piece originally appeared on Supermarket News, a New Hope Network sister website. Visit the site for more grocery trends and insights.