Mendocino Farms opened its first location in a Whole Foods Market in Tustin, Calif., Thursday, anchoring a 140-seat shared dining room within the store that includes a bar with craft beer and wine and the grocer’s prepared foods.
Whole Foods has been adding local restaurant operators to its food lineup in stores across the country, including Los Angeles chef Roy Choi’s Kogi and Chego restaurants in Southern California, and the CheU Noodle Bar in Philadelphia.
The grocer’s relationship with Mendocino Farms included a minority investment in 2015 that will help the fast-casual sandwich concept grow.
Mario Del Pero, Mendocino Farms’ co-founder, says the company will study how the in-market location works before moving into more Whole Food stores.
“But we do have a lot of interest from our friend restaurants that are in different regions to see if this is a viable opportunity for unique partnership and growth,” Del Pero says.
Here’s a look at the new Mendocino Farms within a Whole Foods in Tustin.