Why Some Kroger Locations May Soon Allow Gambling

Grocery stores used to be solely for grocery shopping. You could cruise in, grab a pound of radicchio, splurge on a camembert brick, and peel out of the parking lot onto the next thing. But, those times are long gone and, since then, grocery stores in the U.S. have emerged as a one-stop-shop for a million different services. These days, you can get your photos developed at Walmart. At Midwest grocery chain Giant Eagle, shoppers can take their kids to the Eagle's Nest — a child care service that watches little ones while adults get the shopping done — for free. Some grocery stores have introduced hot bar food buffets, and many have even been successful enough to draw traffic away from restaurants, says RetailWire.

In fact, the word grocery originally meant a place people went to drink and socialize. It's the kitschy reason why many fashionable bars and restaurants across New York City have adopted the word into their names, like low-lit venue Arlene's Grocery in the Lower East Side or Jeffrey's Grocery in Greenwich Village. Now, it looks like there might be a new sheriff in supermarket town, and its name is gambling. (Yes, really.) Here's why some Kroger locations may soon allow it.

Sports gambling kiosks are here (almost)

According to Cleveland.com, Kroger has applied for gambling licenses in order to add sports gambling to its list of offerings across select Ohio locations. Grocery chain Acme Fresh Market has already received approval for a gambling license in its Parma, Ohio store. Instead of sit-down tables, these grocers are applying for the installation of sports gambling kiosks, and Kroger has reportedly been pre-approved for 42 of them across Ohio. More than 1,1000 different businesses have already been pre-approved to install these kiosks in their stores. If all goes to plan, Kroger shoppers will be able to place bets starting January 1, 2023.

If sports gambling kiosks seem like an odd addition to your local supermarket, consider the advent of the grocery store bar. New York grocer DeCiccio & Sons was the first to build an in-store bar 13 years ago. His customers may have been excited, but competing grocers thought the idea was absurd, reports Grocery Dive. Yet, now, grocery store bars have become largely commonplace and they promote sales in a big way. The Wall Street Journal says grocery store bars invite customers to stick around for longer, calling the enterprise "the latest step in efforts by supermarkets, a famously low-margin business, to make more money by keeping shoppers in their stores longer and getting them to spend more while they are there." The same could be presumed of these gambling kiosks.

A pull for in-store grocery shopping

VinePair points out that grocery store bars are also a huge opportunity for drawing shoppers back to in-store grocery shopping and away from the competition of delivery apps and subscription-based seasonal meal kits. A recent Coresight Research survey found that nearly 60% of U.S. shoppers utilized online grocery services in 2020 and 2021, a dramatic increase from just 36.8% in 2019, per Supermarket News. Sports gambling kiosks could promote in-store shopping in the same way. 

John Nehring, owner of two Wisconsin grocery stores, says grocery bars are a great move for fostering an atmosphere of social closeness. "In the early 1900s, the store is where people met," Nehring tells Wisconsin news outlet OnMilwaukee. "This whole neighborhood is so much about community, and putting this bar in here really brings it together." This sentiment might extend to in-store gambling, as well; the kiosks could take grocery stores from a get-in and get-out shopping trip to an opportunity to slow down and chat with a stranger.

Madrid may already be on your travel bucket list for reasons like the Prado Museum or Parque del Retiro. But, there's one more underrated reason to visit the capital city of Spain, and that's Sobrino de Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Sobrino de Botín serves traditional Spanish cuisine in the heart of Madrid and has served numerous celebrated literary figures, including Ernest Hemingway, Benito Pérez Galdós, Graham Greene, and María Dueñas. 

Casa Botín is known for its suckling pig and lamb, which are slow-cooked in an old, oak-fired oven and infused with the flavors of lard, white wine, bay leaf, onion, and garlic. And, while the sumptuous meats are fresh, imported weekly from Sepúlveda-Aranda-Riaza, the bones of the building tell a different story, as the first record of the brick-studded building dates back to 1590. In addition to the meat-focused stars of the show, patrons can also indulge in other typical Spanish dishes, like Botín-style clams, and gazpacho, which pair wonderfully with the restaurant's curated selection of Spanish wines.

Bianyifang in Beijing, China

Peking duck is a staple of Beijing cuisine, so what better place is there to cross off your travel bucket list than Bianyifang, the oldest Peking duck restaurant in the city? What started off as a purveyor of roasted chicken and duck in 1416 during the Ming Dynasty evolved into the restaurant that it is today, which has a number of branches around Beijing. At Bianyifang, crispy, juicy duck is achieved by a method of roasting where the bird is heated in a closed oven rather than an open oven, which many other Peking duck spots utilize.

Bianyifang's trademark closed-oven roast duck is offered in a multitude of flavors perfected over the centuries, including the flower scent, the garlic scent, and the vegetable scent. And, if roast Peking duck isn't enough, Bianyifang also offers other duck-adjacent menu items including salty duck liver, crystal duck tongue, duck feet with mustard Sauce, and drunken duck heart with rice wine. Plus, did we mention that a whole duck, including condiments, is only 188 yuan, or around $25?

Fraunces Tavern, NYC

In a city where there's a bar (or three) on every corner, the ability to boast the title of "oldest and most historic bar in the city" (per Fraunces Tavern) is no small feat. The Tavern, located in Tribeca, has a host of menus, from brunch to dinner, featuring cozy American dishes. With its red brick walls and dark wood interior the tavern has all of the elements of traditional Tribeca architecture, which one of the oldest neighborhoods in New York City. 

Whether you want to eat classics like New England clam chowder and fish and chips in the Independence Bar, or modern small bites like lobster mac & cheese and braised short rib sliders in the cozy Tallmadge Room, Fraunces Tavern has got you covered. Fraunces Tavern also boasts a multitude of beers, cocktails, whiskeys, and spirits to pair with its many dishes, including limited-release craft beers like the Ever Grain — Eternal Vigilance, a Double IPA with notes of citrus, cotton candy, and tangerine gummies. Plus, who wouldn't want the chance to say they ate at the same bar as George Washington and the Founding Fathers?

La Campana in Rome, Italy

A pasta pilgrimage, or even a travel food bucket list, isn't complete without a visit to the home of pasta: Italy. More specifically, La Campana in Rome, Italy is a must-visit restaurant to cross off your travel bucket list. La Campana was first mentioned in census records dating back to 1526, making it Rome's oldest restaurant. The home-style Italian restaurant doles out traditional Roman dishes like pan-braised artichokes, carbonara, cacio e pepe, fried zucchini blossoms, and for dessert, the apple torta. 

The trattoria is tucked into a quaint cobblestoned street that the restaurant is named after, Vicolo della Campana. From the intricate history of the business, which is still run today by siblings Paolo and Marina Trancassini, descendants of the family who managed it for over a century, to the Roman culinary staples it offers, there's plenty to pique your interest when it comes to La Campana. Plus, in its over 500 years of history, La Campana has accumulated many fans, from Roman locals to celebrities including Caravaggio and Goethe. 

La Couronne in Rouen, France

La Couronne is known for being the oldest inn and restaurant in France. Founded in 1345, the restaurant is located in the northern Normandy region. Centuries of perfecting their repertoire of French dishes yielded something that some may say is better than a Guinness title: the approval of Julia Child who claimed that her first bite of French food eaten at La Couronne catalyzed her French culinary journey. 

Paying homage to the famed chef, La Couronne offers a Julia Child-inspired menu in addition to its two tasting menus, a la carte and Autumn. For 65 euros, the Julia Child Menu includes six oysters from Saint-Vaast, Dover sole, green salad, a fruit and cheese course, and petit fours. On the other hand, the Le Prestige de la Couronne menu offers seven courses for 83 euros and includes lobster cooked in champagne and Normandy-style souffle. As for the interior of the restaurant, La Couronne features six rooms and lounges decorated with dark wood beamed ceilings and wood-paneled walls covered in photos of past famous restaurant-goers.

Rules in London, England

If there's something that London's food scene has, it's range. From world-renowned Indian restaurants to traditional fish and chips shacks to markets where you can get all of the above, London has it all. Every foodie city has to get its start somewhere, and when it comes to London, that start was Rules, the oldest restaurant in London that should be added to your travel bucket list immediately. If its stable growth since it opened in 1798 isn't enough to convince you to dine at Rules, let the endorsements of famous literary heroes like Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, John Galsworthy, and H. G. Wells be a factor in your choice. 

The London-based eatery calls itself a heritage restaurant for good reasons: It serves traditional British fare like oysters, steak and kidney pie, roast, and sticky toffee pudding. But, the dining room isn't where the party ends at Rules. Upstairs is the restaurant's bar that once served as the meeting point for Edward VII and his mistress, and is now one of the best places to sip on inventive cocktails in London. Enjoy perfected classics like The Martini or Hemingway in the plush velvet chairs that line the inside of the bar. During the holiday season, patrons can indulge in pre-dinner drinks at The Winter Garden Cocktail Bar, an outdoor extension of Upstairs filled with natural light, plants, and more plush chairs.

Wurstkuchl, Germany

Translating literally to "sausage kitchen" in English, Wurstkuchl is the oldest restaurant in Germany that has served, you guessed it, homemade pork sausages since 1146. The centuries-old sausage purveyor cooks its sausages in an open charcoal grill just as it did 500 years ago. And, if a plain sausage seems a bit boring, don't worry, because Wurstkuchl also serves up sauerkraut that's fermented in-house. 

Wurstkuchl sits next to the stone bridge near the river, where stonemasons and dock workers would eat lunch and refreshments after a busy day in the Middle Ages. Whether you're more eager to try the famed Weißwürstl with homemade mustard or homemade potato soup, there are plenty of home-style Bavarian dishes to suit everyone's tastes. The Bavarian restaurant has three options for seating: the historic parlor, which seats 25, outdoor seating on the Danube beach, which seats 84, and the tavern, which seats 60.

La Puerta Falsa in Bogota, Colombia

While Europe and the U.S. are home to many of the oldest restaurants on this list, that's not to negate the rich culinary history that can be found on the other side of the world in South America. La Puerta Falsa is considered the oldest restaurant in Colombia, dating back to 1816. Located in Bogota's historic La Candelaria District, the unassuming exterior is often flanked by a long line of customers hoping to try the signature dishes that wowed Anthony Bourdain himself. 

Highlights of La Puerta Falsa's menu include tamales, which consist of a plantain leaf filled with rice, vegetables, corn dough, and melt-in-your-mouth slow-cooked meat, as well as ajiaco, a creamy soup made of potatoes, chicken, and capers. And, don't forget to try La Puerta Falsa's twist on hot chocolate, which features a mixture of rich hot chocolate served with bread and cheese on the side.

La Tour d'Argent in Paris, France

As one of the culinary capitals of the world, it's no surprise that two of the restaurants on this list are located in France. Founded in 1582, La Tour d'Argent is a Michelin-starred French restaurant in the heart of Paris. Foodies flock to this spot to eat its specialty dish, pressed duck, with a view of the Seine and Notre Dame for the ultimate Parisian experience. Coming off of its renovation in early 2023, La Tour d'Argent features a new look that's equally as magnificent as the menu curated by Chef Yannick Franques. 

From the rectangular black and white tiled floors to dishes like The Mystery of the Egg, which features an egg yolk topped with brioche crumbles, rosemary sautéed chanterelles, and grated white truffle, every aspect of the restaurant screams Michelin. Apart from the many culinary delights offered at La Tour d'Argent, the highlight of the restaurant is the panoramic 6th-floor dining room, which features floor-to-ceiling windows looking out at the city. Here, patrons can sip on a bottle of French wine from the restaurant's vast wine cellar, which features almost 300,000 bottles of wine, just as Queen Elizabeth II and Orson Welles may have when they visited the restaurant themselves.