A Chicago-based barbecue restaurant will be expanding its presence in the suburbs with the help of the Mariano's grocery chain.
Pork & Mindy's, started in Chicago by Chef Jeff Mauro in 2016, will open locations inside Mariano's stores throughout the Chicago area. The first two will open Saturday in Chicago's Bronzeville store and on March 20 in Park Ridge, at 1900 S. Cumberland Ave.
Officials of the upscale grocery store say they will continue to open Pork & Mindy's locations at all 28 stores throughout the year.
The restaurant will be located near the front of each store in a roughly 200-square-foot space, with a dedicated case for grab-and-go hot foods, according to Mariano's officials. Menu items that will be exclusive to Mariano's stores include Bacon-Wrapped Spare Ribs and Smoked Honey Mustard Meatloaf. Daily items feature about a half-dozen of Mauro's signature Sangwiches, including Tottys (Tater Tots loaded with meats, sauces and garnishes); Smokehouse Beans and other sides; and build-your-own Pit Bowls. Guests will find other Pork & Mindy's items such as Pig Candy and bottled sauces in the grocery aisles.
It is the grocery's first partnership with a restaurant, which officials say highlights a shared commitment to fostering a dedicated community of flavor- and fun-seeking foods.
"Mariano's is deeply committed to supporting local products and community partnerships while finding ways to provide our guests with more convenient and tasty options," said Michael Marx, president of Roundy's, Mariano's Division. "We're thrilled to come full circle with Pork & Mindy's as a homegrown brand that makes some of the most innovative and delicious barbecue around."
Mauro, who is also co-host of Food Network's "The Kitchen," opened the first Pork & Mindy's in 2016 in Bucktown with business partner Kevin Corsello. The restaurant has since grown to six locations in Chicago, Minneapolis and Denver, and was named to QSR Magazine's 40/40 List of America's hottest startup fast casuals for 2019.