Crate & Barrel’s light and bright home furnishings pair perfectly with the herbaceous, fresh menu at the brand’s new full-service restaurant.
The Table at Crate

Crate & Barrel’s light and bright home furnishings pair perfectly with the herbaceous, fresh menu at the brand’s new full-service restaurant.

Why Crate & Barrel's Restaurant Concept Has National Potential

Crate & Barrel has always been at home in the kitchen, but now it’s pushing into foodservice with the help of a seasoned chef.

Crate & Barrel is synonymous with nicely appointed kitchens and perfectly set tables. It makes sense, then, that the brand would push into the restaurant space with the Table at Crate, a full-service, chef-driven, all-day concept that opened inside its Oak Brook, Illinois, location in July.

A joint effort from the longtime purveyor of housewares, Chicago-based Cornerstone Restaurant Group (crg), and CRG partner and chef Bill Kim, the restaurant runs on cross-industry collaboration. Crate & Barrel has been in retail since 1962, but 2019’s Table at Crate is its first venture into the foodservice industry. Similarly, since its inception in 1993, CRG has achieved success within the restaurant sphere, backing Kim’s Urbanbelly, ENO Wine Bar, and the Michael Jordan–brand concepts, yet steering clear of the retail category until now. This is also the first retail-restaurant combo that Kim has helmed.


The Table at Crate operates thanks to a symbiotic relationship between these parties, with each bringing its own set of skills to the table—figuratively and literally. The restaurant’s namesake is a 13-foot maple table set to inspire convivial group dining.

The result is a seamless combination of retail and fine dining. The space is fully furnished with Crate & Barrel goods, visually melding the restaurant experience into the shopping one. The flavors are inspired by the way Kim and his wife, Yvonne Cadiz (both are loyal Crate & Barrel customers) cook in their home kitchen. The lunch-and-dinner menu is augmented by afternoon tea offerings and a coffee and pastry bar to service all-day shoppers or guests who visit in between meals.

Thanks to the new success of the Table at Crate’s first location, the brand announced its plan to open up to 15 additional full-service restaurants in its top stores in the future. Crate & Barrel CEO Neela Montgomery and Kim discuss the Oak Brook location ahead of what could be a nationwide expansion.

What can those involved gain from this collaboration? What are the takeaways from both the retail and restaurant sides?

Neela Montgomery: Food and beverage is a natural extension of the Crate & Barrel brand. Our customers share our passion for entertaining, and we created the Table at Crate to provide them with an immersive brand experience that goes beyond traditional shopping touchpoints. We created an inviting place for our customers, existing and new, to experience this location as a lifestyle destination.

The Table at Crate

Chef Bill Kim (himself a crate & barrel customer) found inspiration for the Table at Crate menu at home in his own kitchen, where he and his wife cook.

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.