Kroger: right store, right barbecue?! Mariano’s, a Kroger banner, is undergoing a remodel of sorts and welcoming mini Pork & Mindy’s restaurants into 28 of its stores. The Chicago Tribune reported that the partnership offers a huge expansion opportunity for the eatery and marks the first restaurant-style concept for the Chicago-based grocer.
“This is the first time we are operating a restaurant-style concept within the store,” Amanda Puck, Mariano’s Director, Strategic Brand Development, said. “It is very mutually beneficial. We are about the experiences in general, and this just brings it to the next level. We had great synergy from their team from the get-go. We have a strong commitment to local vendors, so it really just made sense.”
Pork & Mindy’s was co-founded by Jeff Mauro, host of The Food Network’s “Sandwich King” and co-host of “The Kitchen,” in 2016 and boasts a pork-intensive, barbeque-themed menu that’s all its own. Currently, the chain has six locations in Chicago, Denver, and Minneapolis.
As part of its partnership with Mariano’s, Pork & Mindy’s will occupy a 200-square-foot branded space at the front of each grocery store. This space will include a counter serving up a few of the fast-casual chain’s menu favorites, including “sangwiches” and “tottys,” and a grab-and-go food case featuring the likes of bacon-wrapped spare ribs, smoked honey mustard meatloaf, and Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Will Kroger convert more of its banners to fit this new restaurant-inclusive format? Deli Market News will continue to report, celebrate, and eat all that is deli, dairy, bakery, and specialty foods.