Books and Food

San Antonio top chef tapped to lead first Barnes & Noble restaurant

San Antonio top chef tapped to lead first Barnes & Noble restaurant

B&N Kitchen
You can eat and read books. Photo by B&N

San Antonio chef Robbie Nowlin has been tapped to lead Barnes & Noble Kitchen, a new restaurant concept from the behemoth bookstore brand. Nowlin was most recently the executive chef at Boudro's Texas Bistro and Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar. Prior to that, he was executive chef at Hotel Valencia.

Though the new restaurant is opening in Plano, the menu will reflect the same seasonal approach to local ingredients that Nowlin took at Boudro's and Zinc. Dishes include herb-rubbed chicken, pan-roasted salmon, a brisket hickory burger, hummus, and a cheese plate. 

Barnes & Noble Kitchen is a new concept for the brand, combining a bookstore with a full-service restaurant offering shareable dishes, wine, and craft beer. The store, slated to open November 10, is one of the new smaller-format prototypes being tested by the company.

"This store is part of our ongoing effort to test new concept stores," says Barnes & Noble's CEO Demos Parneros in a release. "We are still learning from all of the new stores that we have opened across the country, and we are excited about the knowledge we have gained in these markets."

The Kitchen at Barnes & Noble Legacy West in Plano features indoor and outdoor seating, full-table service, plus the usual informal spots for coffee or a glass of wine. Indoor seating includes a community worktable with easily accessible outlets. You can also sit at the bar or at a table with table service. The patio has large accordion doors, a large water fountain, and an outdoor bar.

Other cutting-edge features at the store include mobile devices that provide detailed information on all products, and self-serve kiosks throughout the store where customers can discover books and other products and locate them in the store through an interactive store mapping tool. Customers can also order and ship directly to their home.

Community events will include book fairs for local schools, signings, and story times, wine and food tastings, and intimate music events.