A bookstore facing lackluster sales is turning to food to stay afloat. Barnes & Noble is jumping into the full-service dining business with the launch of its first hybrid bookstore/restaurants, the Sacramento Bee reports. With one already open in Eastchester, N.Y., and a second in Edina, Minn., the third prototype store lands in Fulsom, Calif., and features an open concept with bookshelves crossing into the dining area, where customers can sit down with a full menu and sip on local beer and wine.
Barnes & Noble announced its restaurant plans back in June, looking to draw people back to in-person book shopping by combining it with dining for an “experience retail” setup. The Barnes & Noble Kitchen menu for Fulsom embraces plenty of modern food trends too: There’s avocado toast on the breakfast menu and sharable guacamole for the table, plus a kale salad, a hearty brisket burger, and a plancha-cooked salmon. Oh, and there are slow-cooked beef short ribs that cost $26, or more than most books in the store.
Barnes & Noble is not the first retail chain to incorporate full-service restaurants into its business. Urban Outfitters has already done so at multiple locations, bringing in chefs like Ilan Hall, Marc Vetri, and Michael Symon to craft its menus. Barnes & Noble Kitchen partnered with AvroKO and The Branstetter Group for this new venture, and the menu is the work of executive chef Sheamus Feeley, who was on the opening team for Farmstead Restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch in Napa Valley and previously worked with the Hillstone Restaurant Group.
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