Dean & DeLuca is finally ready to open its modern take on a cafeteria in the Meatpacking District.
Today the gourmet grocer opens Stage, a cafeteria-style restaurant overseen by Sorapoj Techakraisri, whose company acquired Dean & DeLuca in 2014. The restaurant at 29 Ninth Ave., at 13th Street, runs all-day, serving made-to-order sandwiches, bowls, and sides with protein options like roasted turkey, falafel, beef, salmon, and pork. There’s also beer and wine.
The all-day menu is served in a brick-walled space oriented around a center open kitchen — the titular “stage” — where the food is made. Customers place orders at the counter, too, and there are tables along the edges of the room. It looks very much like an office building cafeteria. Renowned architect Ole Scheeren designed the space and has previously collaborated with Techakraisri on projects like the MahaNakhon skyscraper in Bangkok, known for its distinct “pixelated” appearance.
The upscale grocery chain first set its eyes on the space — formerly occupied by the mega Asian-themed clubstaurant Spice Market — three years ago. Since then, it tested this Stage concept in Miami and Midtown East.
Dean & Deluca, while once a leader in the gourmet grocer market, has taken a backseat in recent years to chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Founder Giorgio DeLuca — who still owns Giorgione in the West Village — sold most of D&D to property developer Pace Development Corp. in 2014, but maintains a stake in the company.
Pace reportedly aimed to turn Dean & Deluca into the next Whole Foods, but since then, the Thai company has sold off its shares in Japan, and reports have surfaced of the company struggling to pay its bills and shuttering stores. There are now just four market locations throughout Manhattan and some abroad.