It’s always been possible to get a quick meal at a Lunds or Byerly’s. Just meander around the cheese counter and snag enough cubes of Gouda to take the edge off your hunger. While the local grocery chain’s newest concept, Lunds and Byerly’s Kitchen, does include a cheese counter, it seems like executives would prefer customers sit down and take a load off rather than stuff themselves with samples. The 17,000-square-foot space in downtown Wayzata focuses on freshly prepared food, both for dine-in and take-out, with a small selection of groceries on hand for diners to add to their basket on their way out of the store.
And with sushi, burgers, and pizza on the menu, it’s hard not to draw comparisons with Whole Foods, but Lunds and Byerly’s Kitchen has at least two things Whole Foods doesn’t: iPads and booze.
First, the iPads. The dine-in portion of the store slightly resembles a Delta terminal, with tablets at each table for ordering food and drinks. On the surface, it seems like a good idea — you easily can surf through the menu, select and customize your items, and charge your order right at the table. That requires the iPads to actually work, though, which wasn’t the case during our recent visit. Instead, we had to flag down a table runner to take our tablet and credit card to the front of the house to send our order through to the kitchen. It’s not much of an inconvenience, but it defeats the purpose of the iPad ordering system.
Second, the booze. Lunds and Byerly’s Kitchen offers a generous list of wines (by glass and by bottle) and beers (bottled and tap) at reasonable prices, and a lovely curved bar at which to sit and enjoy a glass or two with a cheese and charcuterie board. In a state where you can’t buy alcohol in the main section of a grocery store, it feels slightly devious to toss one back just a few feet away from an olive bar, but hey, we’re not complaining.
But the success of Lunds and Byerly’s Kitchen will rest on the quality of the food, and while the dining room isn’t charting new culinary territory, it provides a solid menu of favorites. Brick oven pizzas feature a crisp, flatbread-like crust and plenty of garlic; the freshness of the tomatoes and basil come through on the Pizza Margherita ($9).
The grass-fed burger ($9) arrives appropriately pink, as ordered, on a shiny, pillowy bun, slathered with bacon-onion jam and a slab of smoked Gouda. Pleasantly charred and juicy, the burger admirably satisfies the need for beef. The truffle fries ($6) avoid the truffle shock of many dishes featuring the fungus, instead offering a subtle earthiness to the crispy taters. The macaroni and cheese ($8) tastes like a deep dive into the cheese counter with all its creamy decadence; the adult version includes smoky bacon to break through the rich dairy flavor.
Beyond the dining room, the store stocks the essentials for quick weeknight meals and entertaining. Cases of fresh produce contain the fixings for salads, and the deli counter allows customers to pick up prepared salads, sandwiches, and sushi. A small selection of bakery items is available for dessert (individual chocolate cakes and bread puddings) and brunch (muffins). An in-store Caribou Coffee will keep the store hopping in the early morning as nearby residents come for their daily caffeine fix. The store anchors The Promenade Wayzata, a mixed-use development that will include luxury apartments, condos, senior living, and retail. If successful, the grocery / restaurant / bar model could be replicated elsewhere in the metro.
While not destination dining, Lunds and Byerly’s Kitchen serves up reliable, familiar fare — perfect for families where everyone wants something different for dinner or for friends catching up over a bottle of wine and some noshes. Judging by the crowd Saturday night, Wayzata already has embraced the concept, so it may not be long before a Lunds and Byerly’s Kitchen plants roots in another part of town.
Lunds and Byerly’s Kitchen
Casual dining and drinks in Wayzata
250 Superior Blvd
Wayzata, MN 55391
HOURS: 11am-1opm daily for the dining room; store opens daily at 6am
CHEF: Gabe Stockinger
BAR: Wine and beer
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE PRICE: $7-14