Barnes and Noble has made a bold business move: introducing beer, food and wine.
Though we’ve all seen the Barnes and Noble cafés (there’s one at Firewheel Town Center), Barnes and Noble Kitchen, opening November 10 at Legacy West, is quite different.
Carl Hauch, vice president of stores for Barnes & Noble, Inc, came to Plano to introduce the new store.
“We’ve had cafés in 600 of our stores since the beginning,” he says. “This is a little bit of a test to see how far we can expand our food and beverage offering. Ultimately, we want our customers to feel comfortable in a community environment where they can gather with friends over books.”
As for Legacy West, he says it is the perfect spot for this brave new Barnes and Noble.
At Barnes and Noble Legacy West, local authors shine from a shelf near the entrance. One dedicated shelf displays staff picks. Each section is carefully tailored to North Texas readers and there’s probably no shelf-space to waste. Furthermore, guests can browse these curated shelves with Starbucks coffee or beer from the café/bar. This seems to be a more intimate store than the big-box Barnes and Nobles we’ve seen before.
Granted, it doesn’t have the lost-in-time feeling of a tiny, locally owned bookstore. It doesn’t smell like old books and you can’t lose yourself in lines of narrow, cramped stacks–but that’s fitting. This is still Barnes and Noble, so it looks and feels like a Barnes and Noble. Self-serve kiosks and other new technological advances keep it current. It’s clean, fresh, and modern. In short, it’s a bookstore that fits the atmosphere of Legacy West like a glove with local touches to ground it here in Plano.
However, the real game-changer is the other half of the space. Because the bookstore effortlessly flows into the restaurant, guests can naturally transition from shopping to dining.
The full-service restaurant is a whole new aspect of Barnes and Noble, Barnes and Noble Kitchen, one that we’ve never seen before. A clean, bookish space with comfortable indoor seating, a patio and a full-service kitchen, it balances the comfort of a living room with the elegance of a meal out. It features a shareable menu, which is complemented by a premium selection of wine and local beer on tap. The whole concept is one of a few smaller-format prototypes that the company is currently testing. And Plano gets to test-drive it.
Chef Robbie Nowlin designed the menu, coming to B&N Kitchen after after a successful run as executive head chef at Boudro’s Texas Bistro and Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar in San Antonio. With as many local ingredients as possible, Chef Nowlin has created a classy, comfortable American bistro, serving lunch, dinner and soon, Sunday brunch.
Small, shareable bites like Warm BBQ Potato Chips, seem to make up the majority of the menu. The charcuterie and cheese boards also appear promising. At a glance, entrees lean toward the lighter, slightly southern side of life, for example, pan-roasted salmon, a pimento grilled cheese and Mary’s Herb Rubbed Chicken with pulled crispy potatoes. There will definitely be something for everyone.
The new Barnes and Noble Kitchen is very exciting and consequently, highly anticipated. People can come, browse, work and practically live at this new concept. They can stop in for book fairs, signings and story times, as well as wine and food tastings and even music. It’s the next noteworthy piece of the Legacy West puzzle and we can’t wait to drink beer and buy books.