At Long Last, a Bar at the Supermarket – With $1 Bottles During Happy Hour!

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Suddenly, going out to the grocery store doesn’t seem like such a chore.

Last summer, Hy-Vee, a chain of Midwestern supermarkets with about 235 locations, introduced a bar and restaurant concept called the Market Grille in its store in Urbandale, Iowa. It’s a fully wait-staffed, sit-down experience, with a fairly upscale menu featuring entrees like ribeye steak and potato crusted cod as entrees, and bacon, jalapeno, and maple wontons for appetizers. An outdoor patio is available to customers during the warmer months. And yes, there’s also a bar stocked with more than 65 craft beers, among other selections.

Since the opening in Iowa, Hy-Vee has expanded the Market Grille to other locations, while also launching a more casual drink-and-dine experience called the Market Café in other spots. Now, reports Supermarket News, Hy-Vee is gearing up to roll out its Markets to all locations, including 75 stores being remodeled to include Market Grilles over the next three years.

(MORE: How Two German-Owned Supermarket Brands Became Hot Trendsetters in the U.S.)

While Whole Foods and other grocery chains host in-store dining options that sometimes include bars, when consumers think of going out to toss a few drinks back, the supermarket is probably not top of mind. “This is breaking ground, putting a bar into a grocery store,” John Weiler, a chef at the Urbandale Market Grille, said, according to Supermarket News. “Our goal is to serve some great food, great value, in a fantastic new atmosphere. Just to blow people’s minds as to what Hy-Vee is, what Hy-Vee can do.”

For that matter, the concept could change what people think about going to the supermarket in general. It’ll continue to be the place to get your errands done (i.e., gathering groceries), and seeing as the kitchen is open for breakfast and the bar starts serving alcohol at 11 a.m. there’s the potential this to be a much more fun, perhaps even indulgent experience.

The neighborhood Hy-Vee may never replace the neighborhood watering hole, but the company is certainly encouraging the idea that its supermarkets are places not simply to shop, but to hang out and socialize. The Urbandale Market Grille, for instance, has been hosting social events—think free samples of Irish coffee and Irish soda bread around St. Patrick’s Day.

(MORE: Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck Taste Test)

And the Facebook page of one Hy-Vee Market Café in Madison, Wisc., just announced it is hosting Happy Hour specials Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. All domestic bottles are $1 apiece. Just don’t forget about the groceries you were supposed to be picking up.

11 comments
RadioPirate
RadioPirate

Nothing new here: The Whole Foods in Santa Rosa, CA, has had a brewpub for about five years now. What I want to see is a men's lounge at women's clothing stores so we guys can watch sports and quaff a cold one while our skirts shop.

seo.boulevard
seo.boulevard

That particular blog post is written artistically and it includes many practical knowledge for everybody. I guess you've carried out a great job of handling this delicate

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

Nice, now women can deal with drunks losers hitting on them while they buy food!

Anonymous321
Anonymous321

The new “concept” Hy-Vee store has opened in Overland Park, KS.  The new store itself is marvelous!  The two “restaurants” are not.  You buy food at the deli and take it to one of the two areas to eat.  The server brings you your drink.  They take the deli bill, add the drink charge and process the payment.  That’s their total contribution but you are still expected (per management) to tip as if it was a full service restaurant.  The upstairs “restaurant” has a very limited menu which when questioned, management called, “bar food.”  This area is poorly lit and has the ambiance of a bar next to a bus terminal--not pleasant.  And you’d better watch the final bill in both places.  Only the total is shown, not the breakdown of charges.   As I said, the new grocery store is marvelous but the restaurants?  If that’s the home office’s idea of a “concept,” they’re out of touch.


pcseller001
pcseller001

Reminds me of the "Soap and Suds" Bar/laundry-mat from my college years.

pennyeaston
pennyeaston

Wegmans has been doing this for years!

padgettsemi
padgettsemi

Creating a new market in the market. . . Love it!

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

sorry, i go to the grocery store to shop. if i want to drink, i'll go to a bar

1sttradesmart1
1sttradesmart1

@cjh2nd 

Been doing this at a store in Arizona for about 10 years.  It began as a great source for meats and cheeses. Branched into a meat market for the girls.  Half are married with plans for lunch.  


Girls don't necessarily like bars but they will go and pinch tomatoes as we pinch them.  But if you are not into girls, the guys are there too.