Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The History

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Ulver
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Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The History

Post by Ulver »

My uncle told me he used to eat and drink coffee at "Barney's Cafe", that was part of a Forest Park Kroger.

He said you could enter aside from the Kroger itself, but once in you could go shopping without having to enter the main Kroger building.

History? Time frame? Memories?

Thanks...
rich
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by rich »

These were common, but far from universal features of first generation greenhouse stores (c. early 80s). I don't know how they decided to include them, as they seemed to pop up randomly. Essentially, they were some tables and chairs near the deli counter, with a or to the outside of the store. They had their own cash register and perhaps a small cafeteria tray space in addition to the deli. The space was small, cramped, and often dark. They never caught-on and mostly were used by employees on break. I think they were phased-out during the 90s as stores received at least cosmetic remodels. The Kroger on Ponce in Atlanta probably had one--I remember it having the exterior door near the deli as an emergency exit. I think that might have disappeared with the mid '00s renovation of the store.
Last edited by rich on 21 Aug 2011 11:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Ulver
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by Ulver »

Thanks for the reply!

When I worked at the Georgetown store, there wasn't Barney's Cafe, but iirc the deli was kinda like a restaurant. You got a tray slid along, and choose what you wanted from several selections. I recall eating a lot of spaghetti. You paid at the end of the line, as they had their own register.

This would have been mid 80's. Was cafeteria line set-up SOP all of the stores at that time?
wnetmacman
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by wnetmacman »

Ulver wrote:When I worked at the Georgetown store, there wasn't Barney's Cafe, but iirc the deli was kinda like a restaurant. You got a tray slid along, and choose what you wanted from several selections. I recall eating a lot of spaghetti. You paid at the end of the line, as they had their own register.
The Longview, Texas Family Center got a greenhouse-style remodel (without a greenhouse) just in time for Kroger's 1983 anniversary. This store had a cafe similar to what you mention here, but it did not have the external entrance. Longview was a test for Barney's Discount Drug Store, where Kroger moved a few items around and called it a discount drugstore. The only identifiers were a sign on the outside of the store (in one of the capsules) and a huge square banner over the cosmetics counter. I don't remember seeing it on any other stores.
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BK31
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by BK31 »

I was involved in the remodeling of an 1986 greenhouse Kroger in Vicksburg, MS that had a "Barney's New York Cafe" off the deli with a separate entrance to the left of the greenhouse. I've got some pics looking through the windows before the place was demo'd. Looks like it was still the original decor in the Barneys, since I've got drawings of the space as well showing the paneling and tile.
Image
Image

Sadly all traces of this are now gone and this has become more strip retail since the Kroger moved across the street.
rich
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by rich »

This (the photo) is much more elaborate than the cafes I remember. They were simply "Barney's Cafe" and a very small space within the normal store layout near the deli. All the ones I remember had variations on the cafeteria set-up with the option of ordering stuff from the deli. Obviously, they may have had more than one prototype. This, oddly, came at the end of the era where various operators were doing coffee shops, although those tended to be separate from stores as in Alpha-Beta's Alphy's and Walgreen's Wags. Mainline operators like Denny's and the Big Boy chains were beginning to retrench, as well.
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by krogerclerk »

The picture represents the typical greenhouse era Barney's Cafe of the 80's most of which disappeared by the early 90's usually not surviving the remodel to the 90's mauve/grid decor that replaced the original earthtone bauhaus decor. In many stores the space became a video department, in-store bank(Bank South/NationsBank/Bank of America in Georgia, NBC(Nashville Bank of Commerce) in Tennessee), or leased out to Church's, Popeye's or Chick-fil-A.

Basically the emphasis was on the hot steamtable foods prepared by the deli, namely fried chicken and sides or a deli-made sub sandwich and chips. A self service soda fountain and coffee were usually the only beverage options. A register was at the end of the line and some locations had outside entrance/exit in addition to access from in store while most were accessible from within the store. Near the end of the cycle, some locations had salad bars and some offered all you can eat food after lunch hours until 6pm to basically move out food that otherwise would have to be discarded by 6pm.

Smaller town Barney's tended to perform better than urban Barney's due to fewer competive offerings and these were often the last to operate.
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by Andrew T. »

The Kroger greenhouse store in Princeton, WV had a Barney's Cafe from the outset in 1984 until renovation in 1999. I honestly don't think I ever saw anyone (aside from employees on their lunch break) eat there.
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by krogerclerk »

The early greenhouse stores didn't refer to the seating area as Barney's Cafe or Barney's New York Cafe, and those lacked an entrance/exit to "Barney's". The Barney's Cafe designation and entrance/exit doors came with the greenhouse version that was introduced in 1983, the design with usually 4 or more bays under the greenhouse and in which the greenhouse slope was flush with the support pylons.

Older locations received Barney's napkins, etc. and de facto became Barney's Cafe. Other than takeout and a few lunch hour customers, as noted most diners were employees taking a break.
werememberretail
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by werememberretail »

Here's a 1989 article interviewing the Kroger head regional deli operations manager about the growth of some of the Barney's Cafes in some Krogers. The descriptions seem even more elaborate than those previously mentioned, bordering more on a full restaurant format http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... i_6976256/
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Re: Who Remembers "Barney's Cafe" (Kroger) & What's The Hist

Post by Ulver »

I recall telling Kroger suits & ties in the 80's the Cali-salads would be big. Popular. They pointed fingers and laughed! People buying a packaged salad mix>? Never. Never gonna happen...

Although they are on ship now, I got that last laugh back then. **winks**
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