Experience the Flavors of the World at the New Mix Food Hall in Kroger

Kroger’s Innovative Culinary Destination Brings Immersive Dining to Your Local Grocery Store

I love exploring new and unique dining experiences, so when I heard Kroger was opening a food hall at select locations across the country, I was immediately intrigued. As a long-time Kroger shopper, the idea of having access to a curated selection of cuisines, right inside my grocery store, sounded too good to be true. So when the new Mix Food Hall opened at my local Kroger last month, I had to check it out. In this post, I’ll share all the details of this exciting new food hall so you can experience it for yourself!

What Exactly is the Mix Food Hall at Kroger?

The Mix Food Hall is Kroger’s innovative take on a food hall, blending the immersive experience of an upscale food market with the convenience of grocery shopping. It’s a dedicated space inside select Kroger locations that features a rotating mix of local, regional, and international culinary concepts. The hall has stall-like stations where on-site chefs prepare fresh, made-to-order items for customers to enjoy. The offerings range from street food favorites like tacos and ramen, to sushi, Indian dishes, barbecue, and more.

Where Can I Find the Mix Food Hall?

So far, Kroger has opened Mix Food Hall locations in Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky, with additional halls slated for stores in Georgia and Alabama soon. The Food Hall I visited is inside the Kroger store on Vine Street in Downtown Cincinnati, conveniently situated close to shopping, entertainment, and offices. Based on the success so far, Kroger plans to bring the Mix Food Hall concept to more of its stores nationwide.

A World of Flavors Under One Roof

What makes the Mix Food Hall so special is the incredible diversity of cuisines represented. During my visit, there were six restaurant stalls serving up dishes inspired by Mexican, Asian, Italian, Middle Eastern, BBQ, and Southern comfort cuisines. From ginger chicken bao buns to wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas to classic Nashville hot chicken, the selections truly span the globe!

The menus are carefully curated by local chefs and rotate frequently to keep things fresh. Whether you’re craving ramen on a chilly day or a vibrant summer roll on a hot one, there’s something for every taste and mood. As a devoted foodie, I love having access to such an eclectic mix of flavors in one place instead of having to trek across town from one ethnic restaurant to the next.

Specializing in Fresh, Locally-Sourced Ingredients

In addition to the diverse cuisines, I was impressed by the focus on fresh, quality ingredients at the Mix Food Hall. Vegetables, dairy, eggs, and other staples come from local farms whenever possible. Artisanal breads and small-batch condiments are baked and prepared locally. And all sauces, stocks, and other basics are made in-house, rather than relying on pre-made products.

Seeing the chefs cooking dishes to order using whole ingredients sourced from nearby producers gives the food hall an authentic farm-to-table vibe you don’t always find in traditional grocery dining options. The culinary teams are clearly putting care into executing each item properly, rather than just reheating pre-cooked items or assembling basic ingredients.

Plenty of Options for Vegetarians, Vegans, and Special Diets

Given the diverse cuisines and focus on fresh foods, the Mix Food Hall has loads of excellent choices for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone with special dietary needs. I saw gluten-free pizza crusts, noodles, and buns artfully incorporated onto several menus. Lots of bowls, salads, and sides are naturally vegetarian or can be made meatless. And the chefs are eager to accommodate requests to omit ingredients for allergies and intolerances.

It’s clear that accessibility and inclusion are priorities for Kroger’s new food hall concept. Special diet eaters can enjoy the international flavors without having to worry about minimal options or uninformed staff. There’s truly something for all tastes and lifestyles here.

Value Pricing and Bundled Meals

Considering the quality of ingredients and cooking, I found the Mix Food Hall’s pricing very reasonable. Individual entrees range from about $8-$15, right in line with casual food halls and faster lunch spots. But Kroger also offers bundled meals that provide even more value. I chose the “Build a Bowl” 2-item combo, selecting a protein, base and two veggie sides for just $12.

They also have prepared meals packaged to-go, meal kits with prepped ingredients, and value-priced coffee and pastries in the morning. For a fast but satisfying grocery store bite, it’s tough to beat the Mix Food Hall’s pricing.

Dine-In Space Transforms a Regular Grocery Trip

Beyond the amazing food, what really brings the Mix Food Hall to life is the vibrant dine-in space. No dreary grocery café vibe here! The dining area has a chic industrial look with polished concrete floors, exposed ductwork, and fun neon signage. I saw families, solo diners, and groups of coworkers chatting over meals at the mix of tables, booths and counters.

Upbeat music plays as customers line up to order food, then carry trays and plates to whatever spot suits their mood. The lively communal environment feels straight out of a bustling urban food market. It totally elevates and transforms a routine grocery run into a memorable experience.

Order Online for Quick Pickup or Delivery

For days when I’m not shopping in-store, Kroger makes the Mix Food Hall offerings accessible online for easy pickup or delivery. All the menus and pricing are available on Kroger.com and the mobile app. I simply add my desired items, select a pickup time, pay online, and my food is packaged and waiting for me when I arrive.

Delivery is just as simple for times when I’d rather eat from home. Either way, I love having the global food hall flavors as takeout and delivery options through my regular Kroger account. It satisfies the craving without the dine-in effort!

Safety and Cleanliness are Top Priorities

Maintaining high standards of cleanliness and food safety practices are clearly a priority at the Mix Food Hall. All staff wore masks and gloves and followed strict sanitation protocols during my visits. Prep areas are spotlessly clean and fully separate from public spaces. And Kroger follows all local and state guidelines for occupancy limits, social distancing, and related health measures.

As a customer, it was reassuring seeing these diligent safety steps in place, especially with fresh, made-to-order food. Kroger has taken the right approach to responsibly operating an indoor food hall concept like this during COVID-19.

Frequent Menu Rotations Keep Things Fresh

According to the chefs I spoke with, the Mix Food Hall menus change up about every 2-3 months on average. This keeps the chef teams excited about innovating and trying new dishes. And it ensures customers always have something new to discover with each visit. Of course, any proven customer favorites stick around a bit longer before rotating.

It seems like a great way to balance novelty and variety with staple comfort foods. I’m already looking forward to coming back in a few months to see what new cuisines and meal options populate the stalls down the road. A regularly rotating global menu is a smart strategy to drive repeat business.

Plenty of Seating Options for Dine-In Meals

Between the smaller tables, long communal boards, counter seating, and a few cozy booth spots, the Mix Food Hall can seat around 75-100 diners within its footprint. As one of the first lunch rushes died down during my visit, there were still ample free tables ready for the next wave of hungry customers. With additional bench seating along the perimeter walls, Kroger has done a nice job accommodating dine-in diners of all group sizes.

During busy times, parties can checkout the “Now Serving” digital screens to see estimated wait times and seat availability. But I never felt crowded or rushed, even ordering at peak hours. The smart seating layout helps maximize space.

Occasional Cooking Classes and Special Events

In addition to daily meal service, the Mix Food Hall plans to host occasional cooking classes and special food events. A few times a month, the chefs will offer weekend cooking demos focused on cuisines represented in the hall. These will give shoppers a chance to learn new skills and recipes to try at home.

For major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, the hall will have special menus and features. And collaborations with product suppliers, local restaurants, and food brands will bring unique events and offerings to the space. As a devoted home cook and event lover, I can’t wait to participate in the hall’s experiential food programming.

Positive Reviews From Customers So Far

Since opening last month, customer reviews for the new Mix Food Hall have been overwhelmingly positive. On Kroger’s website and social media channels, shoppers have been raving about the innovative concept, culinary variety, and quality of the food. Many have commented that they now look forward to grocery trips simply for a chance to eat at the hall.

As a longtime Kroger fan myself, it’s exciting to see them succeeding with such a creative, chef-driven dining experience embedded right in the store. Other grocers will surely take note and try to replicate Kroger’s successful model. But as an early adopter, they have set the bar high.

Accomplished Local Chefs Curate Each Menu

Kroger partnered with local celebrity chefs and up-and-coming culinary talent to develop and oversee the various Mix Food Hall menus. For the Cincinnati location, notable names like Chef Julie Francis of Nourish Your Soul and Chef Joe West of The Eagle are represented. Kroger also recruits graduates of prestigious culinary programs to staff the kitchens.

It’s clear Kroger invested in bringing legitimate culinary chops into the grocery environment with talent that usually fills standalone restaurants. Tasting the outstanding dishes they create, I’d say the investment paid off. It delivers an elevated food hall experience you wouldn’t expect from a supermarket.

How the Mix Food Hall Compares to Other Industry Trends

The food hall and ghost kitchen trends have exploded across the restaurant industry in recent years. But Kroger is one of the first major grocery chains to successfully integrate a true chef-driven food hall model into its stores. Competitors like Whole Foods and Wegmans have food courts or cafes, but nothing that matches the breadth and quality of Kroger’s Mix Food Hall concept.

In particular, leveraging underutilized grocer spaces to offer fresh, customizable, internationally-inspired menus is an innovative move. The Mix Food Hall elevates Kroger from simply being a retailer to an emerging culinary destination. It’s a smart evolution reflecting current food trends while enticing customers back to stores.

Convenient Parking Right Outside the Entrance

Since the Mix Food Hall is built right inside an existing Kroger location, there’s no need to hunt for nearby parking like at some urban food markets. The grocery store has a massive parking lot out front with dedicated Pickup spots near the entrance. I had no trouble finding a space close to the door when I visited at peak lunch hour.

The convenience of pulling up to a regular Kroger store I already shop at, then enjoying a worldly dining experience without ever moving my car, is unmatched. The combination of abundant free parking and the dense neighborhood location makes this food hall extremely accessible for shoppers.

Ideal for Large Groups and Special Occasions

In addition to everyday meal stops, the Mix Food Hall is well-suited for large groups and special occasions when you want a variety of food options. As I walked around, I saw lively birthday celebrations with a dozen friends enjoying bites from different stalls. I also spotted business colleagues laughing over the long wooden table during an extended lunch meeting.

The communal seating arrangements and diverse menus are perfect for gatherings where people want to sample multiple cuisines family-style. For an informal office party, church event, sports team banquet, or any large celebration, the Mix Food Hall can accommodate a crowd.

Local Chefs and Entrepreneurs Can Apply to Participate

Aspiring chefs and local food entrepreneurs can actually apply to become a vendor at their area Kroger Mix Food Hall. Through the website, they can submit an application indicating their concept and menu vision. If accepted, Kroger provides the stall space, tools and equipment for the chef to operate.

It’s an exciting opportunity for up-and-comers to gain exposure without the full cost of their own brick-and-mortar. I love seeing Kroger empower small businesses while keeping their food hall stocked with fresh culinary talent. It’s a win-win for the chefs, customers and the grocer.

An Exciting New Option for Grocery Dining

Kroger has really raised the bar for supermarkets looking to compete through unique dining experiences. The new Mix Food Hall concept delivers an upscale food hall environment with globally inspired menus, in-house made dishes, and accomplished chefs, all conveniently located inside an approachable grocery store.

For shoppers, it provides access to cuisines and flavors from around the world, without having to visit dozens of standalone restaurants across town. As grocery competition heats up, kudos to Kroger for this creative innovation while sticking to their roots providing quality, affordable food.

Based on my visit, the Mix Food Hall absolutely delivers on its promise to be an immersive culinary experience. I’ll be back soon to explore more of the rotating menus. And I eagerly await Kroger introducing this successful new concept to more locations nationwide. For fellow foodies seeking a taste of the menus, check your local Kroger openings and prepare to embark on an international flavor journey!

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