Kroger Midtown Cafe

Not quite a fan

With Kroger (1366 Poplar Ave.) being near my home, I shop there often for groceries and other things I need. I rarely get anything from the deli because for the most part, nothing that the deli offers is fresh. However, because of decent dining experiences that I've had at other Kroger stores, I decided to give Kroger Midtown Cafe a try, hoping that my doubts would be proven wrong. Based on what I had so far, I can't say those doubts have been completely eased.
The meal that I had was the scrambled eggs with sides of hash browns and sausage patties. The scraÀ La Carte Breakfastmbled eggs were some of the saltiest that I ever tasted, and it was so bad that I couldn't finish eating the small portion that I ordered. Besides being salty, the eggs were also watery, maybe the result of being on the serving table a bit too long. The hash browns and sausage patties were okay, but if the eggs aren't good, then why bother with the rest? It'll be like eating a Big Mac with the special sauce and cheese, but with ratty-tasting meat.
I wanted to try something from the lunch/dinner menu, but when I arrived there at about 6:50 PM on a Wednesday, there was very little left to be had. Judging from what I saw, even if the deli had any food left, I might not have eaten it because, in my opinion, everything looked stale and unappealing. Compared to other supermarket delis like Schnucks and Piggly Wiggly (whose Midtown store will soon become a "CashSaver") that usually have fresh food right up to their closing time (7:00 PM), Kroger seems to stop preparing meals well before then. The next time, I made sure I got there at an earlier time, which was about 1:15 PM on a Friday afternoon.
When I got there, the serving table was nearly filled to capacity, even though the selection was limited. Basically, it mostly consisted of chicken (both baked and fried), along with a pan each of fried catfish, spaghetti and mashed potatoes. In order to make an even-StevServing table/line (April 15, 2011)en comparison to places like the nearby Rudabagas and my personal favorite, the much maligned Amoco Food Express, I ordered the two-piece chicken combo (costing $5.45 with tax) with baked chicken. Even though the combo comes wiServing table/line (April 15, 2011)th two sides of vegetables, the only vegetable that was available was the mashed potatoes, so the woman who served me substituted the spaghetti for one of the veggies (the combo also includes a roll). Because nearly all the tables were taken, I decided to opt for take-out and ate the combo at home.
In eating the combo meal, I wasn't expecting much from it, so I was pleased that it was a decent meal. The baked chicken had a nice grilled flavor, with the skin slightly charred in a good way. The cTwo-piece chicken combo, with baked chickenhicken was tender and seasoned, and was by far the best part of the meal. The spaghetti, mixed with a gritty meat sauce, had a cheesy and spicy flavor that one would likely find in a school cafeteria. The mashed potatoes weren't anything more than typical, but it complemented everything else nicely. Overall, the meal was about a "6" on a ten-point scale, which isn't terrible but not exactly an endorsement.
In closing, I will say that after a couple of visits, I can only say a few good things about the Kroger Midtown Cafe. Other than the baked chicken, most of the food was about average (with the breakfast I had being terrible), and I can't see myself going there on a consistent basis, especially if I can get better quality and variety of food for about the same price. I hope that future meals will change my opinion, for as I said earlier, the grocery store is convenient for me as far as my shopping needs are concerned, and it would be nice to grab a bite to eat while on the go. It would be cool if Kroger meets this need, but based on what I have seen and eaten so for, I'm not optimistic that it will happen.

NOTE: Although Kroger still sells hot food from its "cafe", it no longer has a dining room. It was converted into a pharmacy. However, there are many other Kroger stores (such as the one at 1759 Union Ave.) that offer both a similar menu and in-store dining.


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