Grocer Wegmans opens full-service restaurant

COLLEGEVILLE Pa. While supermarkets have long been viewed as serious competition for restaurateurs, upscale grocery chain Wegmans Food Markets Inc. is pitting itself directly against foodservice operators with the debut of the brand’s first in-store, full-service restaurant.

Called The Pub, the restaurant is located in the chain’s newest outlet, the 132,000-square-foot Wegmans in the Providence Town Center shopping mall in Collegeville, Pa. The restaurant is housed in the store’s Market Café area, which offers shoppers a wide range of prepared foods for takeout or eat-in, such as burritos, panini sandwiches, sushi, pizza and a buffet of Asian-inspired dishes.

The Café area, which includes The Pub, has combined indoor and outdoor seating for 300 customers.

The Pub is modeled after traditional Irish pubs, and offers beer, wine or liquor in addition to food items. The restaurant features an open kitchen, which allows guests to observe chefs as they prepare the food. Guests also can sit at the 24-seat bar and order from the restaurant menu.

Chris Happel, the Collegeville store’s executive chef, said: “We want this to be a great place for families to dine. Our philosophy is to start with the best ingredients, go easy on sauces and seasoning, and let those simply prepared foods shine on the plate. Customers can watch dinner being cooked in The Pub and ask the chef any questions they like.”

AWegmans’ official said The Pub could potentially serve as a model for future stores.

The 132,000-square-foot store marks Wegmans’ 74th location. The family-owned Wegmans, which is based in Rochester, N.Y., operates stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland.

Contact Paul Frumkin at [email protected] [3].