Have a beer. Hit the Wok Bar. Or build your own tacos.
The new and expanded Lunds & Byerlys opened Thursday at St. Paul's emerging Highland Bridge development, offering shoppers plenty of ways to avoid cooking — including ready-made sushi, soup, salads and more — besides traditional grocery offerings.
"At 51,000 square feet, this store is perfectly sized for a convenient shopping experience while still providing adequate space to allow us to offer our full selection of products and services," said Aaron Sorenson, a Lunds & Byerlys spokesman, in an email.
The new location at 2170 Ford Parkway is 20% larger than the current Highland Park store. There are two levels of covered parking and a second-floor taproom called the Mezz, with sandwiches, snacks and 30 self-serve taps for beer, wine and seltzers.
"Features such as Taco Mas and our Wok Bar are in many of our other stores. And customer response to those lunch and dinner offerings has been very positive," Sorenson said. "In recent years we have also added The Mezz to new stores when possible, including our  France Avenue store in Edina and our White Bear Lake store."
Highland Bridge is a 122-acre mixed-use development on the former site of the Ford Motor Co.'s Twin Cities Assembly Plant. The project by Ryan Cos. will include housing, office and retail space, as well as parks and paths.
The Lunds & Byerlys at Highland Bridge has an opportunity to become a community center, drawing in traditional grocery shoppers as well as lunch and happy hour crowds, said Phil Lempert, editor of Supermarketguru.com. That's a strong business model for the upscale grocer as consumers face rising prices.
"If it can develop into that community center, price is not as important to that shopper," he said.
The neighborhood's original Lunds & Byerlys dates back nearly 40 years and operated until the new location opened at 3 p.m. Thursday. A moving sale will be held to sell off inventory at the old location from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 30 to Oct. 3.
Lunds & Byerlys will continue to have a lease at the original location, and future plans for the space are being discussed, Sorenson said.
The family-owned grocery company has been steadily growing as supermarket competition increases, and it plans a new store in Apple Valley next fall.
Lunds & Byerlys operates 28 grocery stores in the Twin Cities area.