Monday, December 6, 2010

Westfield Old Orchard announces leap into cutting edge culinary arena with new open kitchens and natural market concept

The American public’s and retail shopping industry’s perception of food courts in shopping malls will change dramatically when Westfield Old Orchard’s forthcoming open kitchens and natural market food showplace launches next year. Skokie, Illinois based Westfield Old Orchard announced plans today to develop this world-first culinary-focused dining and “green” food shopping venue which replaces the former food court, which closed on September 1, 2010 to make way for the development of the new culinary venue, with an anticipated opening in summer 2011.

During the build-out period, the construction area will be surrounded by oversized graphics displaying colorful photo illustrations and renderings of the new concept, which is the brainchild of Richtree Market Restaurants Inc., a Canadian food service firm that has created innovative restaurant and marketplace concepts in a number of Canadian shopping malls. Westfield Old Orchard’s venue is envisioned as a contemporary approach to dining and food shopping that will feature a wide assortment of gourmet food stations plus a dynamic market offering organic, sustainable and natural artisan specialty foods, seasonal fresh produce and other grocery items to be enjoyed by all.

"We believe that, with its multiculturalism and well-known passion for food, Chicago is the perfect city to host our first U.S. location,” said Kevin McCormack, Director of Richtree’s Large Format Restaurants Concept. “The decision to choose Old Orchard was based on the mall’s positioning as a flagship shopping center in the Midwest, and part of a world leading property development group. Westfield's style of combining shopping with dining set the standards in the industry, and we believe we share a similar vision. With this trendsetting concept of fresh, on-stage cooking, and the fun approach to dining out, we're looking forward to welcoming our guests, and bringing the dine-in experience at the mall to a next level of innovation."

“Our new open kitchens and natural market experience will reflect the ever-growing sophistication and culinary awareness of our customers,” said Deborah Mattes, Senior General Manager of Westfield Old Orchard. “Today’s Old Orchard customers are enthusiastic explorers—and enjoyers—of creative food. They seek out fresh, healthy and delicious food items and specialty products representing a variety of tastes and culinary styles. Our new venue will offer a wonderful new dine-in experience and, for customers who want to shop for items to take home, the natural market will feature organic, sustainable and natural freshly prepared foods, meat, produce, seafood and specialty items they can easily pick up without having to leave the mall. It will be a convenient, one-stop adventure. We believe the venue will also be a powerful, magnetic destination for visitors and tourists.”

The open kitchens and natural market will be arranged as a casual yet sophisticated series of food stations or “kitchens,” where all-natural food is freshly prepared before customers’ eyes. The d├ęcor will be contemporary, and there will be common seating areas with both indoor and alfresco style dining. The spacious venue will cover 22,500 square feet.

As customers explore the various kitchens, they will be able to choose from a wide variety of food offerings such as seafood, pizza, fresh pasta (made on premises), fresh grill, French rotisserie, carving station, freshly smoked meats, bakery, omelets, cheese, fresh fruit juices and smoothies, sushi, oyster bar, Asian specialties, salads, desserts, pastries, gelato and coffee creations. The menus will change often (they will be presented on chalkboards), reflecting current seasonal ingredients. There will be vegetarian and gluten-free options as well.

The new concept will be a great place for the whole family. Children will be excited at the large number of delicious kid-friendly items, while their parents can rest assured that the food and grocery offerings will be fresh and healthy.

“Our new approach to dining and food shopping reflects the continued growth and vitality of Westfield Old Orchard,” said Mattes. “In spite of the ongoing recession, Old Orchard has continued to grow, adding several new and exciting retailers and offering a wider, more dynamic shopping experience. This is another step in our vision to ensure that Westfield Old Orchard continues to set the standard and to exceed the expectations of our customers, while drawing people from all parts of the Chicagoland area and beyond.”

Westfield Old Orchard is conveniently located in Skokie, Illinois, at the intersection of Skokie Boulevard and Old Orchard Road. The center is home to Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s, along with 140 specialty shops, restaurants and cinemas. The center abounds with fantastic choices including Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, L.L. Bean, Tiffany & Co., Williams-Sonoma and Zara to name a few. Dining options include California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s Little Italy, McCormick & Schmick’s, as well as fast casual options including Johnny Rocket’s, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Noodles & Company and more. For more information call (847) 673-6800 or visit

Westfield Old Orchard is owned by the Westfield Group (ASX: WDC), an Australian-based company with interests in 119 shopping centers in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the U.S., the Group has a portfolio of 55 shopping centers that are home to more than 9,000 specialty stores and comprise approximately 63 million square feet of leasable space in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington.

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