Long gone are your grandparents’ days of traipsing from the butcher to the fishmonger to the produce stand to get all your shopping done. Today, the ultimate goal of grocery stores is to put everything under one roof—even the restaurant where you eat when you don’t actually feel like cooking all the food you bought.
This convenience-driven concept has been embraced by corporate behemoths on a national scale—full-scale Subways can be found within Walmarts across the nation, while Target has started to implement Starbucks and Pizza Hut branches within its stores. But the options go well beyond fast food: Whole Foods has begun to experiment with everything from ramen counters to dosa joints, ethnic markets house some of the best speciality food courts in America, and even Michelin-starred chefs have begun to set up shop within spitting distance of the bread aisle.
With Eataly expanding its Italian grocery store/restaurant concept to Chicago and prix-fixe spots like Le Restaurant popping up in NYC markets, the “shelf-to-table” dining trend shows no signs of slowing down. Perhaps the increased awareness of ingredients and sourcing has created a deeper bond between food stores and customers. Or maybe we’re all just getting too lazy to go shopping and go out to eat in different places. In either event, it’s time to get familiar with 10 of the country’s most exciting restaurants hidden inside grocery stores.