PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway here plans to open a freestanding restaurant in Northern California that will serve as a test kitchen for the food-service side of its business, industry sources told SN. The restaurant is scheduled to open later this year, the sources noted. Safeway officials declined comment. The sources said the chain does not intend to use the restaurant as a prototype to roll out to additional locations but simply as a way to quietly test culinary ideas for use at store level. The freestanding facility will be supplied exclusively with products that come out of the chain's distribution system, they indicated. Although it has not yet been determined what the menu offerings will be, the facility is likely to serve lunch and dinner only; and while there might be some references on the menu to proprietary Safeway brands, there will be no deliberate attempt beyond that to connect the restaurant and the chain, the sources indicated.
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