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Whole Foods plans to open a food hall

The dining destination, the bottom floor of a new supermarket, is one of several ways the retailer is hoping to eat restaurants’ lunch.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Whole Foods Market will give a food hall a try when it opens a 70,000-square-foot showcase store later this month.

The Amazon holding is also expanding the array of restaurant concepts it includes in its supermarkets, where ready-to-eat foods abound in a number of in-store food bars and counter stations. The roster of full-fledged restaurants will be extended this fall to include several tavern-style concepts featuring pub foods and vegan specialties along with cocktails, wines and local beers. 

To increase takeout orders of ready-to-eat family meals, the grocery chain has teamed up with celebrated chefs and cookbook authors to offer limited-time selections for the year-end holidays.

The efforts to grab business that might otherwise go to streetside restaurants figure large in Whole Foods stores scheduled to open this fall. A new branch slated to open in Tempe, Ariz., for instance, features one of the new pub concepts, On Ash, named for the street where the store is located, along with a branch of the Nekter Juice Bar chain. Inside the store, food bars will offer shoppers made-to-order sandwiches, focaccia, pizza, sushi and tacos.

The unit replaces an older nearby store with presumably less foodservice available.

Whole Foods said the new unit featuring a food hall, in Tysons Corner, Va., will be the chain’s new East Coast flagship. In addition to the collection of restaurant concepts on the first floor, the retail outlet will feature a pub and game room on the floor above.

The food hall will include Officina, a pasta concept from chef Nicholas Steffanelli; Genji Izakaya, an izakaya-style Japanese station featuring dumplings, poke, sushi and ramen; Rappahannock Oyster Co., a seafood bar selling shellfish from a local purveyor; and Curiosity Doughnuts, the brainchild of “Ideas in Food” authors Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa.  

Whole Foods isn’t the only big-name supermarket operator to incorporate a food hall into one of its stores. Kroger opened one of the multistation dining destinations in Cincinnati in mid-September.  

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