Barnes & Noble Kitchen at Legacy West

What goes better with a good book, beer or wine? At Barnes & Noble Kitchen in Plano’s Legacy West development, no one needs to make this impossible choice. With locally sourced craft beer, premium wines, a full service restaurant and a selection of specially curated books, this new Barnes & Noble concept store will quickly become Plano residents’ favorite spot to unwind from a busy week.

“Plano is a great, growing community, and this development is wonderful; we are excited to be a part of it,” said Carl Hauch, vice president of stores for Barnes & Noble. “We think that the mixed residential and retail development at Legacy West is the perfect place to open one of our new concept stores.”

With only 10,000 square feet, this is Barnes & Noble’s smallest-format concept store ever opened and the first to be externally branded as Barnes & Noble Kitchen. When guests first walk in, almost the entire store and restaurant can be seen in one glance, making it seriously easy to find exactly what one is looking for – a popular book, a grab-and-go lunch or a place to sit and stay awhile.

photos Jennifer Shertzer

The modern layout, textures and signage make this location unique from a typical neighborhood Barnes & Noble. Orange, heated umbrellas on the patio will catch the eyes of a passerby first. But inside, it’s the “face outs” (a term describing book covers that face the customers to “invite discoverability,” according to Carl) lining the walls, the contrasting grey tile and the lack of bright green signs prominent in original Barnes & Noble stores that cause it to stand out the most.

“The selection of books is very curated to the local community,” explained Tommie Dewberry, general manager, who has been with Barnes & Noble since 2001. “We tried to include books that would really speak to our customers. There is a large religion section since we are in the South, a sports section that is very well-liked in Texas, a cookbook section to tie in the restaurant, a business area due to all the corporate headquarters around and a graphic novels and manga section that has been popular in other stores in the area.”

After reading material has been purchased, one may stop by the coffee counter to pick up a freshly brewed Starbucks and sit at the long, community table to read or work. Or venture into the cozy dining room to enjoy lunch or dinner prepared with locally sourced ingredients by Executive Chef Robbie Nowlin, a former chef at the world-renowned French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley. Accordion-style doors open to the outdoor patio seating, where guests can enjoy a warm day and the relaxing sounds of the Legacy West fountain.

Executive Chef Robbie Nowlin

Food options are as carefully chosen as the books here, with choices like the artisan cheese board, marinated olives, avocado toast, a brisket hickory burger, pan roasted salmon and ruby red grapefruit salad. For dessert, indulge in an apple crisp with vanilla ice cream, warm ginger bread or butterscotch pudding. Of course, six options of craft beer are available, as well as a premium wines by the glass or bottle to hit the spot.

“The menu is focused on American cuisine and bistro dining,” Chef Nowlin explained. “It is upscale, but approachable. I myself love to have wine at the end of a shift, and read a book too, so the concept really makes sense for me.”

Salmon with tabouli // courtesy Barnes & Noble Kitchen

Although Barnes & Noble is the world’s largest retail bookseller, Barnes & Noble Kitchen at Legacy West feels more like a community bookstore of the past, with a modern twist to match its surroundings. In addition to shopping and dining, this location will also hold events such as author signings, chef appearances, food and wine tastings and more.

And to answer my first question – why choose between beer and wine? Come back daily and order whatever drink you may feel like; after all, books (and bookstores) are meant to be savored.

Barnes & Noble will hold these special events in anticipation of its official grand opening on Friday, Nov. 10:

November 8, 1-3pm Kim Sunee, author of “Everyday Korean;” 6-8pm Melissa Lenhardt, author of “Sawbones”

November 9, 7-9pm Chef Ben Ford, author of “Taming the Feast”

November 10, 6-8pm Reavis Z. Wortham, author of “Hawke’s Prey”

November 11, noon-2pm Beth Bowland, author of “Polaris;” 6-8pm Lynne Marsak Weinberger, author of “Six Words Fresh off the Boat”

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