KMart Cafeteria and Other Restaurants

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Phil53

KMart Cafeteria and Other Restaurants

Post by Phil53 » 16 Dec 2005 17:35

Raised in Central California and San Diego, I remember KMart would have a yellow company cafeteria inside all their stores til the early 1990's. I vaguely remember the name, but it had a 70's yellow exterior glass around it. It was usually in a box centered in the back of the store, there was a counter and a 70s set of tables and chairs.

I believe they phased them out when Little Ceasers moved in or when most KMart Stores were upgraded in the 90's.

I don't remember what they served, but it was probably short order items. Around that time, this was in addition to the popcorn and ICEE machine desk at the front of the store next to the cashiers.

Can anyone provide any additional information about this hidden yellow cafeteria, as well as old pictures of KMart interiors?

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Re: KMart Cafeteria?

Post by Groceteria » 16 Dec 2005 18:40

I believe it was called the Kmart Grill, and while it was cafeteria-style, it was still pretty much fast food (burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc.) as I recall. But you're right; it was always in the back center. I think they may have stopped adding them to new stores as early as the mid-1970s; I seem to remember a new one opening in Greensboro NC about that time without one...

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Post by Groceteria » 16 Dec 2005 19:51

dixiesquare wrote:i remember them in the front of the stores here . they had a deli counter and some of the worst sub sandwiches you ever ate .
The deli at the front was a whole different thing; the cafeteria-style operation in the back operated in addition to the front-end deli, which is also where the popcorn, etc. were.

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Post by Daniel » 17 Dec 2005 05:30

The one I went to in the 80's in a long since demolished Kmart was just called "CAFETERIA".

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Post by Jeff » 17 Dec 2005 12:05

Many stores around here had both the deli in the front, and Cafeteria in the back.

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Post by storewanderer » 17 Dec 2005 19:22

The Sparks, NV Kmart retained its "Eatery" until being remodeled into a "Big Kmart" in the late 1990's.

That store also had a snack bar along the front wall in front of the registers. That has also been closed.

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Post by Groceteria » 17 Dec 2005 19:29

This whole thread is getting me sort of nostalgic for a trip to a Kmart from, say, 1975, where we can all have cheeseburgers at the cafeteria, stick our hands through the plexiglass to look at 8-tracks, and then stand in line for half an hour while the cashiers tear off every price tag and put it in the proper slot by the register (Key 1, Key 2, etc.)...

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Post by Dave » 17 Dec 2005 19:35

Groceteria wrote:This whole thread is getting me sort of nostalgic for a trip to a Kmart from, say, 1975, where we can all have cheeseburgers at the cafeteria, stick our hands through the plexiglass to look at 8-tracks, and then stand in line for half an hour while the cashiers tear off every price tag and put it in the proper slot by the register (Key 1, Key 2, etc.)...
...while all the while waiting for the blue light to come on...

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Ahhh for the good old days.....

Post by wnetmacman » 18 Dec 2005 00:45

I remember the Kmart front end delis......the popcorn was consistent...in a not so good way. You could get drinks, sub sandwiches and the like there. And don't forget the Icees.

The cafeterias/grills were in two distinct styles. Most of the stores built in the 60's protruded out into the store near the sporting goods section. They had the aforementioned yellow glass, and usually said CAFETERIA across the front. By the 70's, they had sunk the cafeteria into the back wall, but it was the same stuff.

The move to the front of the store was heralded by the Little Caesars venture. Originally, they only served the pizza items, but more recently they have been renamed Kmart Cafe, and are starting to go back to the old menu.......

And to think I was in a Kmart today......
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Post by GreenFalcon » 18 Dec 2005 04:20

Groceteria wrote:This whole thread is getting me sort of nostalgic for a trip to a Kmart from, say, 1975, where we can all have cheeseburgers at the cafeteria, stick our hands through the plexiglass to look at 8-tracks, and then stand in line for half an hour while the cashiers tear off every price tag and put it in the proper slot by the register (Key 1, Key 2, etc.)...
I was thinking the same thing, except that the year is 1983, and I preferred lunch at Weinstock's Garden Room to the dimly lit KMart Cafeteria.

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Post by todd » 18 Dec 2005 08:56

I remember our huge Kmart in Anderson, SC ...as a kid we'd wander around forever in there. There was a cafeteria in the back with lot of wood and that yellow glass. We actually ate there a few times but my parents had a friend who worked there. Up front, we'd get those sub sandwiches from blue light specials ...we'd buy bunches and freeze them. They weren't so great by todays standards, but then they were the only game in town. Kmart was the place to go.

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Post by mikeparkridge » 23 Dec 2005 19:39

There is or was 1 in Lombard Il. on Roosevelt Rd. witch didn't have any type of eating place. don't know if there was a time when they didn't have eating places and this location was built before that I wonder why they never even put one in later on?

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Post by Jeff » 24 Dec 2005 13:53

The Kmart in East Los Angeles never had a cafeteria or food eatery at all either. This Kmart was small compared to others. Its still open today and has been in the same shopping center as a Target (that recently expanded and remodeled) since Fedmart closed the store there back in the early 80s.

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Post by danielh_512 » 28 Dec 2005 02:44

The Kmart that opened here locally in Cumberland, MD in 1981 had a Delicatessen in the front and a Cafeteria described like the others in the back. It had a cafeteria until about 1998, when that area was then used for sporting goods, then turned into a stockroom in 2000 during the Big Kmart conversion. The delicatessen remained until 2000 during the conversion, but has stayed in other stores that were larger to this day.

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K-Mart Cafeterias

Post by rich » 04 Jan 2006 20:17

The popcorn & the 3/$1 subs (they may have called them "hoagies") were not included from the prototype they developed around 1983. The mere mention of the popcorn & subs reminds me of the distinctive stench they gave to K-Marts. The mid-80s format was when they first tried to draw something resembling upscale customers and adopted more of a department store layout, better lighting and once-fashionable brands like Botany 500. Those stores and the sadly rather small number of remodels based on that format still had restaurants, which had a coffee shop format and were buried in the back. I would guess that these and the non-cafeteria restaurants in older stores were based on the luncheonettes that Kresge stores used to have---the later ones in Kresge stores were called "Dinettes". The popcorn & subs used be clustered with various cheap junk food items, which these later stores placed in aisles parallel to the cash registers rather than right in front of them. The later stores also sold more name brand snack items.

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