Omaha's first Hy-Vee Market Cafe, the grocery chain's new full-service restaurant and bar format, opened Tuesday at the Hy-Vee store at 9707 Q St.
The restaurant and bar, which seats 164, is the state's second Hy-Vee Market Cafe. A smaller Market Cafe that seats 120 opened last November at the Plattsmouth Hy-Vee.
Restaurant manager Spencer Strahl said customers were waiting at the cafe's entrance inside the store Tuesday for its 6 a.m. debut. Breakfast is served from 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. The lunch and dinner menu, which are the same, are served until the cafe's 9 p.m. closing. Plans are to extend the cafe's weekend hours.
As the lunch hour approached, workers were polishing silverware and putting the finishing touches on the full-service bar, which also opens at 6 a.m.
Strahl said Hy-Vee hired about 30 new people at that location to staff the store's new Market Cafe.
The store's new sushi station, Asian Express and Italian food stations, including a wood-fired pizza oven, also opened this week. Customers can order from the cafe menu or purchase food from the store's cases, salad bar or traditional kitchen and enjoy their food inside the restaurant. Diners also can enjoy free Wi-Fi and a dozen HD televisions scattered throughout the dining room.
The Market Cafe is just one aspect of the store's renovation, which includes a new 11,000-square-foot wing that is expected to be finished this fall, store manager Andrew Yochum said.
Outside of Omaha, Hy-Vee is remodeling the store at 5020 N. 27th St. in Lincoln to include a Market Cafe. The store's renovation is not expected to be completed until later this year. A new 87,000-square-foot Hy-Vee that includes a full-service restaurant and bar is scheduled to open later this month in Kearney.
The West Des Moines-based grocery retailer has said it plans to remodel all of its stores to incorporate the new restaurant and bar format. Hy-Vee operates more than 230 stores in eight states.