Bill Kim: This partnership is exciting because it melds the restaurant business and CRG with the retail space. We try to constantly reinvent how we participate in the restaurant industry, and this was an exciting first experience for us in retail. Through the collaboration with Crate & Barrel, we’re able to apply our shared expertise to this new challenge.
How was Bill Kim selected as chef of the Table at Crate?
NM: In our conversations with CRG, we found there was a shared focus on the customer between our two teams. Knowing that Kim is a notable figure within the Chicago dining scene, we knew we would love the menu and that he would bring a unique culinary experience to our customers.
How is the menu influenced by the Crate & Barrel brand and customer demographic?
BK: Much of my inspiration for the menu came from the brand’s wide variety of serving pieces, plates, flatware, and glassware, as well as the design of the restaurant and its colors, which then pair to the bright, fresh ingredients we’re using.
When thinking of marketing toward what a Crate & Barrel customer would like, it was a simple because my wife and I, and our friends, are Crate & Barrel customers. As a result, the menu reflects the personal notes of what I typically cook in our kitchen at home, is inclusive of the many different eating lifestyles that people live by, and features many plant-based, herbaceous, light dishes we often have at home. The flavors on the modern menu are both recognizable and accessible while still being complex and surprising to guests.
How do the retail store and the dining areas work with each other to produce a seamless space?
NM: The Table at Crate is fully outfitted with Crate & Barrel furniture and the interior was designed by Crate & Barrel’s in-house product design, architecture, and brand experience teams. We view the restaurant as a great opportunity to showcase our products, as well as our design and entertaining expertise, within an immersive and engaging setting that showcases the form and function of products.
How was the menu designed to accommodate periods of store traffic throughout the day?
BK: Our regular menu provides a variety of options for a light or filling lunch or dinner, but afternoon tea is perfect for a lighter pick-me-up after or before shopping. We also provide a full-service coffee bar for grab-and-go items and delicious pastries for a quick snack.