Dom’s Kitchen & Market Presents Concept 24K Square Foot ‘Grocerant’ in Vernon Hills

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Dom's Kitchen and Market rendering (SOURCE: Camburas Theodore)
Dom’s Kitchen and Market rendering (SOURCE: Camburas Theodore).

Andrew C. Jennings, Director of Community Development in Vernon Hills, introduced a segment of the Vernon Hills Village Board meeting Wednesday, December 12, 2023 that explained the concept presentation for Dom’s Kitchen & Market at the site at 600 Townline Road in Vernon Hills on the Hawthorn Mall property.

Next, Ryan Martin, Site Engineer with Kimley-Horn (engineering planning and design consultants), introduced the grocery concept at the village board meeting, along with Mike Mallon, Draper & Kramer (property and financial services company); Sam Whitebread, Centennial Real Estate; and Peter Theodore, Camburas Theodore (design, architecture, and engineering firm). Next, the project will continue with a future detailed staff review, and then a public hearing and official vote.

Vernon Hills Village Board Meeting – 12/12/23 with Concept Review for Dom’s Kitchen and Market, 600 Townline Rd at 52:27 (SOURCE: Village of Vernon Hills). YouTube Tips ⓘ

With hopes of opening in late 2025 or 2026, the Vernon Hills Dom’s Kitchen & Market location would be the first suburban location. The name is a respectful nod to the founder of the former Dominick’s Supermarket chain, Dominick DiMatteo.

After creating the unique Mariano’s store in Arlington Heights in 2010, and then the development of subsequent locations; Bob Mariano and others have now created a new boutique-style operation described as a hybrid grocery store and restaurant.

Dom’s Kitchen & Market was launched in 2021 by former Dominick’s CEO and Mariano’s founder Bob Mariano, along with fellow, former Dominick’s executives. Dom’s Kitchen & Market stores are located in the City of Chicago in the Lincoln Park and Old Town neighborhoods with a third location developing in River North.

The Vernon Hills Mariano’s location at 1720 North Milwaukee Avenue is the second Mariano’s store location, which opened in 2011 in the year following the opening of the Arlington Heights store. After Bob Mariano worked in management at the Arlington Heights Dominick’s at 325 East Palatine Road, he became CEO at the now defunct Dominick’s. Then he re-booted himself as Mariano’s founder, and as CEO of Mariano’s parent company, Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc. Many Mariano’s stores in Chicagoland opened in former Dominick’s locations.

The former Dominick’s location in Arlington Heights, where Bob Mariano worked, currently sits as a developed Amazon Fresh store that has experienced a delay in opening.

Bob Mariano changed the grocery industry with specific kitchen-like departments in the Mariano’s store that sell coffee and gelato, sushi, rotisserie chickens, smoked ribs, briskets, salads in a bar buffet, oysters, cheese, sweets, juice and smoothies. Some stores included a liquor bar. At the initial Mariano’s in Arlington Heights, there was no liquor bar. Bob Mariano created a new experience, like shopping in a food encyclopedia.

Currently, the Mariano’s brand could be affected by the potential merger of two major grocery chains — Kroger and Albertsons. The major chains claim they must merge to compete with Amazon and Walmart. An FTC decision on the merger could come today, Friday, December 15, 2023. Conditions of the merger have already indicated Kroger must sell off the Mariano’s brand name to to C&S Wholesale Grocers. However, the merger could be blocked, or additional conditions could be demanded by the FTC.

Meanwhile, Bob Mariano has a new niche.

Bob Mariano (and fellow, former Dominick’s executives) have now rebooted again as Dom’s Kitchen & Market, which concentrates the Mariano’s kitchen experience even further.

“There used to be something here in Chicago that was called customer loyalty. You grew up a Cubs fan, you grew up a White Sox fan, you grew up a Dominick’s fan, you grew up a Jewel fan. Those days are long, long gone. People shop around. Retail has changed so much over the last ten years, and in particular in the grocery store industry. It’s all about the experience now.”

— Mike Mallon, consultant and broker for Dom’s, speaking at the Village Board meeting

Even during initial planning of Dom’s Kitchen and Market, Mallon said, the desired suburban market demographic was very important in rolling out the chain of new stores. Mallon said Vernon Hills was “by far the strongest suburban market.” He explained, the largest number of requests online for a suburban location were from Vernon Hills residents. “We want a Dom’s in Vernon Hills,” Vernon Hills residents wrote. The exact number of these requests was not available at the board meeting.


5 parking spaces per thousand square feet

Expansive glass atrium

Building 28 feet tall

Hours of operation: 6a to 10a

150 people expected to be hired

20,000 customers anticipated per week

Garbage pickup two or three times per week

The location is proposed on an outlot as part of the extensive Hawthorn mall redevelopment. The 24,400-square-foot store would have a significantly smaller footprint and style than a typical grocery store, with hidden loading docks.

Mike Mallon said he’s been working with Hawthorn Center owner Centennial Real Estate for six months.

Dom’s: “It’s a combination grocery and restaurant — a ‘Grocerant,’” Mallon said.

The ring road around the mall requires relocation to allow for a lot for Dom’s Kitchen and Market west of the Sleep Number store.

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