This post is part of NRN's newsroom blog, Reporter's Notebook.
My recent article on car dealerships becoming non-traditional sites for restaurant operations revved up a larger-than-usual amount of email interest.
A number of messages came from operators interested in pursuing such an avenue for development, but I also got a few notes from restaurant and catering-company owners doing something similar.
For example, Martha H. Wolf, a co-owner of the the Ivy Bake Shoppe in downtown Fort Madison, Iowa, said she and her business partner Susan Welch Saunders have operated an Ivy Bake Shoppe in the Shottenkirk Superstore (a Ford, Kia and Jeep dealership) in Burlington, Iowa, since 2002.
“We serve around 150 customers a day, serving 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., six days a week,” Wolf said. “We have even sold five cars for the dealership of customers coming for lunch and then seeing a car, taking it for a spin and buying it.”
In Long Island, N.Y., the Ferrari Maserati dealership, which opened in May of last year, hired celebrity caterer and event planner Andrea Correale to provide special-event foodservice.
“The loft-like space has become an extremely popular Long Island place for corporate events, social events, bar and bat mitzvahs, birthday parties and product launches,” said Melissa Lee Calderon, a press representative.
The dealership also launched a monthly culinary event called “The Experience,” featuring such luminaries asCraig Hopson of New York’s Le Cirque Restaurant.
An “Experience” event on Jan. 14 will feature “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice, who will showcase recipes from her cookbook, "Fabulucious.”