Posted on by Erik Weinbrecht
In-store restaurants aren’t new: For decades, spots like the Zodiac at Neiman Marcus in Dallas have let shoppers unwind over a glass of wine and a salad. But now, more retail locations are including upscale eateries, hiring celebrity chefs, and developing elaborate menus that emphasize freshness and seasonality.
These restaurants are becoming dining destinations in their own right, drawing customers who come for the food first and the shopping second.
Some began as additions to existing shops, while others were developed in tandem with boutiques, offering customers a holistic experience. Such schemes have been so successful that French chef Dominique Crenn, whose San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn was awarded three Michelin stars, will open a combination restaurant, boutique, and patisserie in the northern California city this fall. And hungry shoppers already have a range of options around the world when they want fine dining alongside their retail therapy.
Opened in February 2019, this French-Thai restaurant is on the ninth floor of Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship New York location. Its debut was covered by Vogue and drew celebrities, such as actress Jessica Chastain, who came to check out the Philippe Starck-designed interiors and the extensive menu. Inside, the color palette skews beige and brown, punctuated by stained-glass windows, while just downstairs is Le Chalet, a bar and lounge with a ski-lodge feel. The menu spans fine-dining classics, including caviar, foie gras, and beef tartare, as well as Thai-inflected dishes like chili sea bass. The cocktail menu features straightforward drinks like Negronis and old-fashioneds, as well as more creative concoctions from mixologist Nico de Soto and a dessert menu overseen by Pierre Herme. The restaurant is reservations-only, and has a popular counterpart in Paris.
Japan is known for impressive department-store dining options, but the Chanel outlet in Ginza, which reopened in September 2018 after a renovation, takes the concept a step further with Beige Alain Ducasse. The high-end dining destination, on the building’s 10th floor, serves French food prepared with Japanese ingredients under the guidance of executive chef Kei Kojima.
The decor, too, has an East-meets-West flair, with warm hues and minimalist style. Prix fixe and à la carte options are available, highlighting locally sourced ingredients. On lunch and dinner menus, expect to see dishes ranging from foie gras with roasted apples to fish served with daikon and yuzu. On the lower floors are three stories of Chanel boutiques, as well as a Chanel event space that hosts concerts and fashion exhibitions.