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Kroger launches first food hall

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CINCINNATI — Kroger Co.’s new urban-format store here is the grocer’s first to include a food hall, a destination that combines a full-service bar, a handful of restaurants, a food truck, and indoor and outdoor seating for up to 200 people.

The two-level supermarket occupies 52,000 square feet of retail space and anchors an 18-story apartment building. It is about a block away from Kroger’s headquarters. The store and food hall — named On the Rhine Eatery — will serve downtown office workers as well as residents of the city’s nearby Over-the-Rhine and West End neighborhoods.

“Kroger is thrilled to introduce our first food hall and offer a one-of-its-kind shopping experience in our hometown of Cincinnati, providing a convenient location to experience delicious, quality meals and foods. This innovative destination highlights Kroger’s food-first culture,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Kroger’s new store offers something for everyone.”

Food halls have been cropping up in more cities as retailers and property developers look for new ways to provide a social environment that can generate buzz and offer customers a new reason to visit.

Vendors in the Kroger food hall include the second location of Kitchen 1883 Café and Bar, Kroger’s American restaurant that made its debut in November 2017 next to a Kroger Marketplace store in Union, Ky.

DOPE! Asian Street Fare offers ramen, dumplings, bao buns and dishes inspired by Asian street food as well as Vietnamese iced coffees and global libations, according to Kroger.

Also in the hall is Django Western Taco, offering Mexican food with an American flair, with homemade tortillas produced with Ohio corn, jackfruit carnitas, and jerk chicken quesadillas.

The food hall also includes Eli’s BBQ, which Kroger said has a cult following on account of its hickory-smoked pork sandwiches topped with homemade barbecue sauce, as well as ribs, smoked turkey, and sides like jalapeno cheddar grits and macaroni and cheese. Queen City Whip, a popular local food truck, has its first brick-and-mortar location at the hall, serving up burgers, chili dogs and milkshakes.


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