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CHICAGO — In Chicago, we all have our favorite grocery store that we’ve been going to for years. In those years, we’ve seen the changes as our buying habits have changed. Little do people realize that many of the changes were the brainchild of the guru of groceries stores, Bob Mariano, who got his start at Dominick’s in the 1960s.

Starting off the deli counter at a suburban Dominick’s, Mariano learned the industry under the watchful eye of Dominick DiMatteo, the founder of the (now-defunct) Chicago area Dominick’s grocery chain. That friendship was pivotal for Mariano, as his new store’s name pays homage to the late DiMatteo with the “Dom’s” namesake.

“When I reflect on it, there were so many memories and most importantly, he taught me how to run a business, how to take care of your customers, how to be right and fair to your employees,” Mariano said. “Those values we hold dear is really a way of life as much as business and career, when I look back on it it all just fit together and flowed very naturally.”

Interior of Dom’s Kitchen

Partnered with DiMatteo’s grandson, Jay Owen, they have developed a new European market concept in the heart of Lincoln Park. It’s a standard grocery store in many ways, but the difference is in the experience and locally sourced items. They offer a full kitchen on-site, offering up breakfast, lunch and dinner along with many places to dine, including the spacious greenhouse and tables alongside the bakery.

“Now we’re embarking on the next journey with hospitality and culinary business, we think food is an endless cycle and it’s so much fun to be involved,” Mariano said.

Chicago Scene had the opportunity to go shopping with Mariano for the upcoming Big Game and Valentine’s Day holiday as he gave us a tour of his new concept.

For more information on Dom’s Kitchen & Market, click here.

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