STORE SPACES

Crate and Barrel opens full-service restaurant

BY Marianne Wilson

Crate and Barrel is betting that shoppers will want to “dine in” at its Oak Brook store.

The home furnishings retailer opened its first-ever restaurant, “The Table at Crate,” in its store at Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, Ill. The full-service restaurant is a collaboration between Crate and Barrel and Cornerstone Restaurant Group, which, in partnership with Michael Jordan, oversees all Michael Jordan-brand restaurants among other ventures. It is Cornerstone’s first venture into the retail space.

The Table at Crate, which has James Beard-nominated chef Bill Kim leading the kitchen, integrates the dining and retail experience across two levels of indoor and outdoor space. Most of the featured tableware, chairs and table are for sale in the store. As part of its partnership with Cornerstone, Crate and Barrel said it is also exploring interactive programming on-site, such as chef demos, cookbook dinners, and other special events.

In keeping with Crate and Barrel’s design ethos, the restaurant has a simple, modern look. The design process was led by in-house experts, including VP of product design and development Sebastian Brauer, and Crate and Barrel’s architecture and brand experience teams.

“As a longtime destination for all things home, we know that our customers love to entertain,” said Neela Montgomery, CEO of Crate and Barrel. “We share that passion and The Table at Crate creates a more immersive brand experience for our customers.”

In opening an in-store restaurant, Crate & Barrel is following a strategy honed by upscale rival RH, which has made hospitality key part of its playbook.

“We believe RH Hospitality is now a proven scalable business, and our plan is to increase the number of new Galleries with integrated restaurants, wine vaults, and barista bars going forward,” stated chairman and CEO Gary Friedman in a December release.

The Table at Crate is open for lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner, plus coffee service throughout the day. The menu is heavy on items with ingredients sourced from local farms and purveyors. Like the food, the cocktails will take cues from the seasons.

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