The overlap between restaurants and retail shops isn’t particularly new: Cracker Barrel has a cultlike following for its tchotchke-filled Old Country Store, and you can buy coffee mugs and folk albums at any Starbucks location. But the latest chic breed of retail restaurants is leagues beyond the Planet Hollywoods of the past.
At La Mercerie, which serves some of the best French food in New York City (or, really, anywhere), you can purchase the plates—and the cutlery, glasses, even furniture—on which you’re enjoying your buckwheat crepes and oeuf cocotte. That’s because the restaurant is set inside the flagship Roman and Williams Guild design store, which uses the café as a showcase for its homewares. Milan’s coolest concept store, 10 Corso Como came to Manhattan’s South Street Seaport last September with a full-service Italian restaurant and bar, as well as a high-end marketplace that sells everything from Ferragamo sandals to coffee-table books and kitchenwares.
Even superstar chef Dominique Crenn is getting in on the cuisine-meets-couture game with Boutique Crenn, slated to launch in San Francisco this fall. Along with a restaurant and patisserie serving Crenn’s fab cooking (and her own line of coffee), the project will feature a retail space dedicated to sustainability-focused fashion and art. Shopping and snacking under one roof? Count us in.