Right on the corner of Halsted and Diversey stands Dom’s Kitchen and Market, a new food shopping and in-house dining store in Lincoln Park.
An idea that started on a napkin just over three years ago, according to store director Mike Binder, and withstood the test of Covid-19, opened its doors to the neighborhood in June 2021.
Bob Mariano, the CEO of Mariano’s, and Don Fitzgerald, a former executive at Dominick’s, partnered on Dom’s Market to add more to the Chicagoland food scene.
Though it may seem like just another grocery store added to the neighborhood, Dom’s serves a different purpose for its customers.
“We felt in the Chicago marketplace there was something missing,” Binder said. “Between Whole Foods, Jewel [Osco] and Mariano’s, things were starting to become traditional again.”
With a 17,800 square foot space, Binder and those working on Dom’s from the grassroots wanted a more personal feeling for customers. Somewhere that people can not only shop for certain everyday items such as produce or milk, but a place where they can dine in or work on assignments or catch up with an old friend.
“I think some features of Dom’s that students would like are their dining area where you can hang out or do homework,” said Alec Barlow, a senior studying film at DePaul.
Set up in the form of an upside-down U shape centered around their kitchen, Dom’s small store adds that sense of intimacy and direction through their different food vendors so it is impossible to miss a single place.
“We took it to the next level where we went local with just about every vendor that supplies us within the store,” Binder said. “If you look at our bakery department, it’s Stan’s Donuts and Molly’s Cupcakes. Over in the meat department, we carry Meat By Linz, which is only available in the finer restaurants of the Chicagoland area.”
“Dom’s is great,” said Vanessa Pezza, a former HR intern at the Kitchen and Market. “I have always loved eating healthy and Dom’s carries a lot of what I look for.”
Along with their bakery and butcher, Dom’s offers freshly made food such as salads, soups and sandwiches, rotisserie and pizza and Gohan sushi. All food vendors have vegetarian and vegan options as well.
“Their sushi is definitely the best sushi sold in stores,” Pezza said. “I’m a big fan of that and the Plant Butcher, which is where you can order salads from.”
Of course, no one can forget about coffee lovers, as Dom’s also houses The Brew, an all-day cafe that serves coffee as well as breakfast sandwiches and cheese boards.
“My favorite part about Dom’s is that I can go in and order a pour-over style coffee that exceeds the flavor of many local coffee shops,” Barlow said.
“I love The Brew,” Pezza said. “The coffee is much better than Starbucks and more affordable.”
Speaking of affordability, Dom’s does carry mainly organic, specialty products; therefore, pricing may be a bit steeper in comparison to a place such as Aldi or Trader Joe’s. Though, Dom’s really isn’t the place to buy your everyday grocery products like laundry detergent or Kellogg’s cereal anyway.
“Dom’s is relatively cheaper than Whole Foods but more expensive than Trader Joe’s,” Pezza said. “There is a small price to pay since it carries locally sourced, fresh products. You are getting higher-quality food, which can be a good deal for some students.”
Maybe Dom’s isn’t the place to buy everything on your grocery list, but it was never intended to fill that role to begin with.
“We don’t want to be called a grocery store,” Binder said. “We don’t carry Tide or Bounty or Coke here, but we do have specially curated products that younger generations gravitate towards.”
Though it may not be the first stop for grocery shopping, it’s a place you can splurge from time to time and feel special while doing it. Not to mention, DePaul students are given a 10 percent discount on their purchases.
“It’s worth the trip if you want to treat yourself,” Barlow said. “I’d recommend swinging by at least once just to check it out.”
Dom’s carries specialty items, but they also host events for customers to attend, such as movie nights, Thursday and Sunday night football, wine tasting events and chess club.
Dom’s Kitchen and Market has been open for just over 100 days, but they already have plans to open more stores around the Chicagoland area and beyond.