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Vicorp tries a coffee bar in new Village Inn prototype

Vicorp tries a coffee bar in new Village Inn prototype

WHEAT RIDGE Colo. Vicorp Restaurants Inc., in a new attempt to put a fresh face on its venerable Village Inn family chain, has retrofitted a unit here with a coffee bar, flat-screen televisions, free Wi-Fi service and a new menu.

The company has dubbed the new format “retro-modern,” combining a more contemporary color scheme with “vintage artifacts.” The new menu similarly features products currently in vogue, like Angus burgers, with selections resurrected from Village Inn’s early years, such as Pigs-N-Blanket and Pecan Pancakes.

The new burgers are branded as Crush Burgers, underscoring that the patties are hand-formed, or “crushed.”

Other new items include Tex-Mex breakfast platters, a new “homemade” buttermilk mashed potato side dish, and PieScreams, a line of milk shakes made with vanilla ice cream, sweet ingredients and a half slice of pie. Pie is a specialty of Village Inn.

The coffee bar is set up as a distinct area where patrons can have a cup a coffee, a specialty drink such as a latte, or something to eat.

The restaurant is open around the clock on Friday and Saturday.

“Right now, our industry is extremely competitive and it is more important than ever to stay relevant with our guests, especially at an affordable price-point,” said Village Inn president Jeff Guido. “Not only does this new prototype meet the growing needs of our guests with the barista bar, free Wi-Fi and new menu items, but we feel it has broad appeal to everyone from families, to students, to business diners.”

Fifty-year-old Vicorp is also the parent of the Bakers Square family-restaurant chain. The company recently began a test of a new Bakers Square format that features a distinct fast-casual-style concept, called The Square & The CafŽ, inside a Bakers Square unit. The test store is in Roseville, Minn.

Vicorp, based in Denver, operates 310 restaurants and franchises another 93 outlets under its two family-restaurant brands. The stores are located across 25 states.

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