US Foods' latest concept, a grocery store for restaurateurs and foodies, opens Thursday at Interstate 240 and S Western.
The 31,000-square-foot store stocks restaurant-quality foods and equipment and is open seven days a week. It caters to restaurant workers, schools, civic groups and churches but is also open to the public.
US Foods, the Rosemont, Ill., based food distributor, opened its first Chef'store in Charlotte, N.C., in November; Oklahoma City is the second. The company has 64 distribution centers, including two in Oklahoma City.
From to-go containers and cups to oven thermometers and big packages of barbecue sauce and chopped lettuce, the store gives restaurants daily access to just about anything they might need to stock up on until their next delivery, said Sam Erwin, Oklahoma City division president. Everything is a bigger — think crates of 15-dozen eggs and 10-pound jugs of hot sauce.
Restaurant equipment includes stoves, fryers, ice makers, wooden high chairs and cooking utensils.
Chef'store's ethnic foods selection adds uniqueness to the product mix, Erwin says, with items like Mexican Coca-Cola, nori (the edible seaweed used in sushi) and Halal meat, which is prepared according to Islamic law.
“We're finding some needs and niches in some of the ethnic markets we're going to be able to address here,” Erwin said.