February 28, 2006
A Cooking Light Restaurant?
One of my favorite magazines is about to be turned into a restaurant. Makes me want to visit Chicago!
Cooking Magazine Puts Its Recipes to Taste Test
By LIA MILLER
Food that looks tantalizing on the page is the hallmark of cooking magazines, but if you want a taste, you have to actually cook it yourself. Cooking Light, a magazine devoted to healthy and low-fat gourmet food, is changing that relationship tomorrow, when it opens a kiosk restaurant that features food prepared solely from the recipes in the magazine.
The restaurant, Cooking Light@foodlife, is being run in a joint partnership with the Chicago-based restaurant company Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, which owns 71 restaurants around the United States, including three four-star restaurants in Chicago. The kiosk will be part of Lettuce Entertain You's gourmet food court at Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago.
Entrees will be priced from $5.95 to $8.95. Cooking Light and Lettuce Entertain You are also introducing a take-home food line based on Cooking Light recipes, which will be sold at the food court's market.
Chris Allen, the publisher of Cooking Light, said that while the restaurant took its inspiration from the pages of the magazine, the magazine would also benefit from having a "big focus group" at its disposal.
"We will be watching what happens there each and every day. There's a possibility of a column, a lot of things could stem from this editorially," Mr. Allen said.
Cooking Light, owned by the Southern Progress Corporation, a unit of Time Warner, has a paid circulation of 1.7 million and is devoted solely to food.
Martin S. Walker, a magazine publishing consultant, said that most food magazines sponsored outside events, often in conjunction with advertisers, but that none had taken it this far. He said he would not be surprised to see the restaurant include special events with advertisers.
He added that while the kiosk was an interesting idea and Cooking Light had excellent name recognition in its particular niche of healthy food, financial success might be another matter.
"I'm not sure that it's the wisest money-making venture in the world. As a stand-alone, well, they are like magazines. Most don't make it."
Posted by Lisa at February 28, 2006 9:06 AM
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