Penelope Huston, advertising director of Memphis magazine, gets a glass of wine from server Charles Gray. Nearby, a stack of gourmet cupcakes from Kroger's bakery.
The spacious and abundantly stocked Poplar Plaza Kroger in East Memphis opens today at 6 a.m., and here’s my advice: Go shopping immediately and don't even try to restrain impulse purchases.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Party at the Plaza Tuesday evening for a sneak peak, and I was impressed with the store’s merchandise, the opulent end stacks (there’s even an Apollinaris sparking water fountain), and the cloth-covered tables in the baby aisle where I could stash my empty wine glass.
Sadly, the tables will be gone by opening day along with the wine, but the rest of the merchandise stays to tempt shoppers with a remarkable assortment of groceries, specialty items, and fresh foods. The store also promises to mix in merchandise from local businesses and inventory catered to shopper demand.
For instance, I was happy Tuesday night to see Hodum Honey already on the shelves, and Robert Hodum himself on hand sampling a dollop of honey on individual Saltine crackers. (My Dad used to eat honey on Saltines before heading to bed. It is a wonderful combination.)
In addition to locally produced products, the newest Kroger in Memphis offers natural foods, including vegan and gluten-free options, along with housewares such as donut makers and University of Memphis lawn chairs. There is a cooler of bottled beer that traverses an entire aisle (and offers Brooklyn, Ghost River, Goose Island, and Abita), a bakery with special-order cupcakes (the strawberry buttercream icing is divine), and all-natural gourmet dog treats to please even finicky eaters.
Memphis food writer Hannah Sayle was particularly thrilled to see Bisto gravy ganules, an import from England she swears tastes like the real thing. In fact, the store offers so many items beyond basic groceries that you will probably get distracted while shopping and head home without the milk.
The new Kroger is located on the west side of the plaza’s original Kroger, which will be demolished for
additional parking in the next six to eight weeks. Built in 1949, Poplar Plaza was one of the country’s first suburban shopping centers and has been home to many different retail stores, including McCrory’s, J.C. Penney, and the east branch of Lowenstein’s department store.
Kroger, 3444 Plaza, Memphis, Tennessee 38111