Convenience is the name of the game in this overscheduled, over-stimulated, sometimes overstressed world we live in. If I can save time—the most precious limited resource around— without sacrificing quality, then I’m a happy girl.
Convenience and quality are just two of the benefits of shopping at the new Lunds and Byerly’s Kitchen in downtown Wayzata, a first-of-its kind food destination, celebrating a grand opening March 6 at 10 a.m.
The 17,000 square foot space is not only an upscale grocery store offering a limited selection of produce, dairy, and specialty items (nearly 200 spices! Gift baskets! Fancy cheese! Artisan breads! Olive and antipasti bar!), it’s also a truly fantastic deli, a restaurant, and a bar serving local beer and a variety of wine options. And there’s a Caribou Coffee that roasts coffee beans on-site, the first of its kind in the whole country.
When I visited for a sneek peak at the end of February, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’m a fan of Lunds and Byerly’s grocery stores, and I couldn’t picture how this concept would be different.
After parking in the covered ramp (a luxury during this brutal Minnesota winter), my first impression of the space was that it looked like a nice grocery store, only with a slightly less conventional layout. I walked past a colorful candy display, past a Caribou (I don’t even drink coffee, but the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans smelled so good), past the made-to-order sandwiches, past a charcuterie featuring cutâ€toâ€order Italian meats like sausage, salami, and pâté, past a large display of Lunds and Byerly’s specialty items, past the extensive soup and salad bar and the olive bar, and stopped at the ready-to-go deli counter, oohing and ahhing over heatâ€andâ€serve entrées, sides, and delicious looking desserts.
When I turned the corner, though, I realized how this concept is so different.
Guests sat at tables in the modern restaurant area, using iPads to order from a chef-crafted menu. There was a wine and beer bar with 10 craft beers on tap—all 10 from local brewers—and 65 wines (30 by the glass), ports, sherries, mead and even sake. Friendly and attentive servers delivered meals and drinks to the tables, but there was none of the usual we-have-two-antsy-kids-where-the-heck-is-our-server? Or the I’m-in-a-hurry-where-did-our-server-go? waiting around to put orders in. I learned that you can even shop online from your table if you want, then pick up your order (after lunch or dinner) from an assigned locker—or do more serious online shopping and have it delivered to your home. Once again, I thought about how convenient it all was.
Everything I tried that night was good enough to recommend or order again, from the beef tenderloin tips to the gourmet mac and cheese to the stone-oven pizza. The kids loved their burgers almost as much as they loved playing games on the iPad. When we were done eating, we were able to leave without having to wait to pay our bill – we already did that when we placed our order on the iPad.
It was like the best of Lunds and Byerly’s in one spacious, modern spot, only better. Now I can get together with friends for happy hour, pick up dinner, and buy any necessary items (milk, bread, eggs) all without having to drive from place to place. Bonus that there’s free ramp parking.
Lunds and Byerly’s Kitchen will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The dining area will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The wine and beer bar will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit lundsandbyerlys.com.