The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Ikea in Hicksville is in the process of redesigning the restaurant, transforming it from an afterthought to a draw.
The makeover is part of an overhaul in every U.S. Ikea store, a process scheduled to be finished by spring. (The Hicksville restaurant will remain open during renovations.)
What had been a cafeteria-style dining room is now sectioned into three areas. The first features high-top tables, bar stools and midcentury fabric panels. The family-friendly middle offers communal tables and activities for kids. A coffeehouse occupies the third section, where sleek love seats and rocking chairs are paired with cowhide-covered footrests. The biggest plus for telecommuters is Wi-Fi and mobile chargers.
“Ikea food is becoming a core business,” said Lars Petersson, president of Ikea U.S. As reported in The Washington Post, the chain’s food division — which includes packaged foods and its restaurants — went up 8 percent last year.
In addition to the redesign, the Sweden-based company is in the process of updating the menu. No worries for Swedish meatball fans, since they will remain an option all day. But now there’s a vegetarian meatball, and all fish dishes are prepared with sustainable seafood.
Prices will remain in the fast-casual range. A plate of 10 meatballs with mashed potatoes, cream sauce and lingonberries costs $4.99. Meals can tally as little as $3.
In addition to the restaurant, Ikea offers a convenience store of Swedish-inspired packaged foods just past the checkout stands. At the far end of the store-within-the-store, customers can sit at high-top tables for a quick bite of a ready-made sandwich or salad.
Ikea’s overhaul is part of a national trend of retail stores becoming more lifestyle-focused, pairing dining with shopping under one roof in an effort to compete with online stores.
Ikea is at 1100 Broadway Mall in Hicksville. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; restaurant hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily.