Which comes first, the store or the restaurant?

Café Clover, a 62-seat eatery at 10 Downing Street in Manhattan, has added 990 square feet of curated groceries to help satisfy more eating occasions and “take the guesswork out of health-conscious shopping,” Partner Kyle Hotchkiss Carone told the New York Post.  

While not the usual birth of a grocerant, this concept shows a restaurant can come first, especially when blended purposefully with retail offerings that build off the dining experience.  

Café Clover specializes in seasonal, local, healthy menu items such as cauliflower steak and grilled chicken.  Meanwhile, the Clover Grocery store a few doors down sells these as prepared foods to go, or as ingredients to make at home with accompanying packaged foods such as seed crackers from the limited mix of one or two items per category.  The store also sells housewares, beauty and body products and fashion accessories to capitalize on its Sixth Avenue tourist traffic and lack of nearby supermarket competition.

Mr. Carone described his retail addition to the Post:  “Clover Grocery isn’t a typical store. You don’t know if you should read the book on grocery stores or the book on fashion retail. It’s meant to be shopped in a number of ways — and there were a lot of challenges in understanding how customers would make their way through. After awhile, I had to give up on any preconceived notion of what food retail is meant to be, or how things are supposed to be organized, and go with gut instinct. I’d ask myself, ‘How do I want to shop in this space?’ Now, we have a produce table at the entrance, with grocery items off to one side, and home and beauty items off to another, with a mezzanine in the back where patrons can get juices and prepared foods.”

For more grocerant design insights, click here for our coverage of Juan Romero, President and CEO of api(+) and Tre Musco, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Tesser, who both presented at the recent NRA Show Foodservice@Retail Summit.