In a move Kroger officials describe as a physical expression of its “food-first” culture, the retailer this morning will unveil a new store in downtown Cincinnati that features the company’s first food hall, among other new attractions.
The 52,000-square-foot unit in Cincinnati’s central business district is a block away from Kroger’s headquarters and in reach of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. It anchors an 18-story residential tower.
The food hall, to be known as the On the Rhine Eatery, features Cincinnati restaurant brands, including Django Western Taco, Dope Asian Street Fare, Eli’s BBQ and Queen City Whip, as well as Kitchen 1883 Cafe and Bar, Kroger’s American food restaurant concept. The opening comes as Kroger attempts to align itself more authentically with food culture and improve customer experience in stores as part of its Restock initiative. It follows the opening of the 1883 concept, the establishment of a Culinary Innovation Center and an expansion of elevated own-brand items under its Simple Trust, Private Selection and HemisFares labels.
Photograph courtesy of Kroger
“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,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Kroger’s new store offers something for everyone. We invite all to visit the store to meet our wonderful associates, shop for fresh groceries and discover their new favorite restaurant.”
The two-level Kroger store features grab-and-go and ready-to-heat meals for lunch and dinner, in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables and a traditional grocery shopping experience. The store offers an exclusive Starbucks coffee blend, as well as a walk-up window for beverage orders.
Photograph courtesy of Kroger
On The Rhine Eatery can accommodate up to 200 customers and offers indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a full-service bar, offering signature cocktails, local beers, wines and Kentucky bourbons. Featured restaurants and dishes at the food hall include:
- Kitchen 1883 Cafe and Bar: Kroger’s second location of its American food restaurant that offers dishes such as flat iron steak panini, Brussels sprouts salad and coconut milk smoothies. The restaurant also offers breakfast and a weekend brunch.
- Dope Asian Street Fare: A restaurant that offers ramen, dumplings, bao buns and more—all inspired by street food throughout Asia—along with Vietnamese iced coffee and global libations.
- Django Western Taco: Mexican food with a flair of American cuisine, starring homemade tortillas produced with Ohio corn, jackfruit carnitas and jerk chicken quesadillas. The restaurant also serves handcrafted margaritas, breakfast and weekend brunch.
- Eli’s BBQ: A Cincinnati favorite with a cult following that offers hickory-smoked pork sandwiches topped with homemade barbecue sauce, plus ribs, smoked turkey and sides such as jalapeno cheddar grits and macaroni and cheese.
- Queen City Whip: a popular, local food truck offering its first brick-and-mortar location at the food hall, featuring made-to-order burgers, chili dogs and milkshakes.
“On the Rhine Eatery features emerging restaurants and true tastes of Cincinnati–all handpicked by Kroger’s culinary team to create a popular hangout for meals, cocktails and community,” said Teri Rose, Kroger’s senior director of culinary development. “Cincinnati is Kroger’s hub for culinary innovation and experimentation, and the food hall is an example of the types of concepts and ideas we’re creating every day.”
Cincinnati was named one of the top 50 best places to live by U.S. News & World Report in 2018, and it was cited by The New York Times as one of the “52 Places to Go in 2018.” National food and travel magazine Saveurrecently selected Cincinnati as the host city for its 2019 social awards, a three-day event that will bring influencers together from around the country and beyond to explore the city’s food scene.
“Cincinnati’s dining scene isn't just up-and-coming; it’s here and happening now,” said Susan Lomax, executive director of Source Cincinnati, a collaboration of city organizations that share the Cincinnati region’s stories. “Kroger’s new grocery store in downtown Cincinnati and its On the Rhine Eatery are welcome additions to the city’s growing list of unique culinary experiences.”
The new store is at 100 E. Court Street in Cincinnati and open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The store will offer grocery delivery, with plans to add restaurant delivery.