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Sobeys surprises with pop-up restaurant

Creates five-course meal with food from take-out kitchen and fresh market

Grocers often claim the prepared food in their HMR departments is restaurant-quality, but one Sobeys location decided to put this to the test.

Sobeys Newcastle in north Edmonton set out on a quest to prove food from its take-out kitchen and fresh market could be considered fine dining.

Last Tuesday, residents attended what they thought to be a menu tasting for a new restaurant called “Fresh Market Bistro” that would open later in the year.

The Sobeys marketing team created a logo for the new restaurant and launched a website called which gave menu and restaurant details.

Local residents were invited to try a five-course meal that included charcuterie, butternut squash soup, salmon, prime rib and Italian pastries.

At the end of the evening, store manager Jenna Swankhuizen revealed the meal had been cooked by Sobeys' chefs in the store.

“The beef and garlic potatoes? Probably as good as I’ve ever had,” said one attendee.

Another customer said that he would be likely to shop at Sobeys Newcastle, now knowing what options were available.

"We wanted an approach to food discovery at our store that was as fresh as the food itself," said Swankhuizen in a release. "That was the thinking behind the pop-up restaurant concept."

The video is part of a larger campaign for Sobeys Newcastle geared towards the key messages of "Try Something New" and "Come Hungry."

"Newcastle is currently promoting unusual food pairings to encourage trial and entice shoppers in the area to come in and enjoy a unique food experience," a Sobeys spokesperson told Canadian Grocer. "Patrons are encouraged to come hungry and experience the array of colours, textures, smells and tastes they'll discover throughout the store."

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