DRAEGER'S NEW UNIT ADDS TO FRESH, CULINARY LINES

SAN MATEO, Calif. -- Draeger's Supermarkets here has opened its latest store with a significant expansion of fresh and culinary-related items.In the two-level, 70,000-square-foot store opened June 6, the Menlo Park-based independent retailer has expanded its commitment to fresh prepared foods, adding fresh sushi, a carvery, a grill area and a pizza section to an expanded version of its established

SAN MATEO, Calif. -- Draeger's Supermarkets here has opened its latest store with a significant expansion of fresh and culinary-related items.

In the two-level, 70,000-square-foot store opened June 6, the Menlo Park-based independent retailer has expanded its commitment to fresh prepared foods, adding fresh sushi, a carvery, a grill area and a pizza section to an expanded version of its established restaurant operation.

"It's an evolution of what's been going on at our other stores," said Bill Wallace, Draeger's culinary director. "The acceptance of all the fresh foods areas has been wonderful, it's quite amazing."

The company has been most pleased with the customer response to sales in all the fresh departments and in the expanded kitchen equipment and cook book section, said Wallace.

The first floor of the store holds the traditional mix sold by the upscale, three-unit retailer -- gourmet groceries, specialty and international foods, and a large fresh section that includes deli, charcuterie, bakery, seafood and produce -- as well as the new hot foods to go sections.

Some seating is placed here as well, and on the sidewalk just outside the store but the focus of these sections is meals to take away, said Wallace.

Upstairs is the 165-seat restaurant, Vigonier; a banquet room that seats about 45; and an expanded housewares and book section with more than 5,000 titles.