Hy-Vee Market Grille Express
8809 W Center Rd
Cost: $45 for drinks, appetizer, dinner and breakfast
Reservations: Not needed
To be honest – this pick was more of an opportunity than a long-standing desire. At least, at first, it felt that way. I had bamboozled Jaclyn into volunteering with me one fine summer Sunday and the location of our community-loving stint was in the entry way of a local Hy-Vee. After imploring shoppers to “Stuff a Truck” in support of the Heartland Hope Mission, we both noted that we had never ventured inside Hy-Vee’s latest spin on their culinary services: the Market Grille Express.
Despite the fact that both of us have a history with the Iowa-headquartered grocery king (remember: our spirit-sistah-hood was forged in the deodorant aisle!) we would be lying if we didn’t admit that we, too, have had a hard time envisioning a mind-blowing dining experience just a few feet from a produce section or a floral department. But here’s the thing: Hy-Vee pulls it off.
Diners can either order a la carte and seat themselves or they can sit in the section that offers full service. We opted for the full service package so we could see Hy-Vee’s spin on every little detail. Matthew quickly came over to get things rolling and until the moment we departed, we felt like we had his complete attention.
We asked his opinion on a few menu items and wound up going with both of his recommendations — starting with the Jalapeño Bacon Wontons. These were filled with bacon and jalapeño cream cheese and came with spicy mayo and maple syrup on the side. Matthew suggested dipping them in both sauces, so we did. And he was right: they were mouthfuls of magic.
His other recommendation was the Hy-Waiian Burger — which had caught all four of our eyes in the first place — so we went with it. This half-pound soy-glazed burger was topped with mango-jicama salsa and candied bacon on a toasted bakery bun. It was so good, we wrote a haiku about it:
‘Twas love at first bite.
Sweet, juicy and oh-so-right.
Mark Wahlberg is hot.
Since we both enjoyed the same burger and appetizer, we went back to enjoy the breakfast side of the menu when it came time to write this post.
Jaclyn got the Brioche French Toast Slices — sans the whipped cream. Don’t let the simple-looking picture fool you: her breakfast was perfectly delightful. She thought the bread was thickly sliced, as it should be, and just the right texture of lightly crisped on the outside and soft on the inside.
I got the Cali-Style Omelet. It was bursting with bacon, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, garlic, 3-cheese blend, guacamole and sour cream and came with a side of hash browns. It was delicious, fresh and filling.
With the great service, food and overall experience, we give Hy-Vee Market Grille Express two forks up. And if any part of you still feels like eating IN a grocery store means you’re missing OUT on some grand dining experience – we’re joining the chorus to let you know you’re wrong. We don’t think you’ll regret it one bit. Our only regret is how long we dragged our own feet in trying it out.
Martha and Jaclyn