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Smokey Row Coffee cafe window_Des Moines (2).PNG Credit: Smokey Row Coffee Co.

Hy-Vee plans to open Smokey Row Coffee cafés

Midwestern grocer expands presence in restaurant arena

Hy-Vee has partnered with Pleasantville, Iowa-based Smokey Row Coffee Co. to open several coffee shop/restaurants.

Plans call for the first Smokey Row location to open in mid-September on the lower level of the Hotel Charitone in Chariton, Iowa, Hy-Vee said yesterday. The café will replace the Hy-Vee Market Grille restaurant currently occupying the space.

In Chariton’s downtown area, the new Smokey Row restaurant will offer the chain’s full menu, including coffee and other beverages, breakfast, salads, soups, sandwiches, ice cream and various desserts, as well as a kids’ menu.

“We look forward to bringing our first Smokey Row location to Chariton for residents, visitors, students and workers to enjoy,” Nate Stewart, executive vice president of restaurant development and food service at Hy-Vee, said in a statement. Chariton also is home to Hy-Vee’s largest distribution center.

Hy-Vee Market GrilleHy-Vee_Market_Grille_Hotel_Charitone_Chariton_IA.3.png

Hy-Vee's first Smokey Row location will replace a Hy-Vee Market Grille restaurant in the Hotel Charitone in Chariton, Iowa.

With Smokey Row taking over the hotel’s Hy-Vee Market Grille site, the Hy-Vee Market Grille Express outlet inside the Hy-Vee supermarket in Chariton will be renovated to accommodate more food choices. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based grocer said customers also will be able to walk up to a pay station and order their breakfast, lunch or dinner items and then sit and enjoy their meal in a casual, self-service setting.

“The current Market Grille space in Hotel Charitone will be transformed into a fun, trendy atmosphere with a wide array of food options, as well as a comfortable place for customers to relax, connect via Wi-Fi or visit with friends,” Stewart added.

The Chariton café will mark Smokey Row’s fifth location in Iowa. Its other four restaurants are in Pleasantville, Pella, Oskaloosa and Des Moines. Along with a wide variety of coffees and teas — such as cappuccino, espresso, latte, mocha, chai and herbal teas — the Smokey Row menu includes favorites like chicken pot pie served over warm biscuits, cheeseburger chowder in a breadbowl and the Smokey Row shake.

Hy-Vee, which operates more than 260 supermarkets in eight Midwestern states, also has a franchise partnership with fast casual restaurant chain Wahlburgers. Under an agreement unveiled in 2017, Hy-Vee is slated to build, own and operate 26 Wahlburgers restaurants. The grocer also sells Wahlburgers-branded menu items at its full-service Hy-Vee Market Grille restaurants in the Des Moines area.

Most recently, Hy-Vee said it aims to open a 5,300-square-foot Wahlburgers in Milwaukee late this year. The location would mark the supermarket retailer’s second Wahlburgers in Wisconsin and fifth overall. A 6,000-square-foot Wahlburgers is set to open in Brookfield, Wis., late this summer. Hy-Vee’s first three Wahlburgers locations opened last year in Bloomington, Minn. (inside the Mall of America); West Des Moines, Iowa; and Olathe, Kan.

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