New grocery store, chef’s test kitchen opens in Myrtle Beach’s Dunes neighborhood

Chase Karacostas
·2 min read

For months, the Grande Dunes Marketplace shopping center has been adorned with apology signs from the new grocery store expected to open there.

Beset by nine months of delays, US Foods CHEF’STORE finally opened Monday.

US Foods CHEF’STORE is a 50,000-square-foot wholesale food and restaurant supply store. Unlike some restaurant supply stores, this one is open to all, no membership required.

The Myrtle Beach area has “a fantastic culinary scene,” marketing manager Michael Krippinger said of the decision to expand to the city. “It’s just booming with people moving down in this area, such a growing area, as well, and lots of variety of different restaurants.”

Krippinger said the store will cater to both chain and locally-owned restaurants. And while the company delivers many of its bulk-sale goods, the store will also serve as an easy way for chefs to get last-minute items they forgot to order.

US Foods CHEF’STORE opened in Myrtle Beach’s Grande Dunes neighborhood on March 1, 2021 after nine months of delays related to the coronavirus pandemic.
US Foods CHEF’STORE opened in Myrtle Beach’s Grande Dunes neighborhood on March 1, 2021 after nine months of delays related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company says the store is designed as a “one-stop shop” for restaurant and food-service professionals with more than 4,000 products for sale, from produce to meat to restaurant-grade kitchen appliances. One aisle has 20 feet worth of coffee-syrup flavors. You can also find ready-to-heat frozen fried pickles or 3-pound cartons of potato salad in the same aisle as zucchinis larger than a human head.

The store originally planned to open last May but was put on hold because of the pandemic. Travel restrictions, supply chain issues and a mostly shut-down food-service industry made the prospect of opening the store back then nearly impossible, Krippinger said.

“Everybody was working from home, so we had to pivot,” he said.

The company also changed up its own supply chain to focus on supporting traditional grocers, which saw shortages of grain, meat and dairy products in the spring as people cooked at home more.

Anyone looking to go shopping there might want to bring a jacket — or a parka. Much of the fresh produce and meat is stored in a giant, walk-in refrigeration room larger than most two-bedroom apartments.

The store also has a test kitchen, where restaurant chefs and aspiring home cooks alike can learn about new food trends and ways to make their meals more unique. The store also has people on staff to work with restaurant operators on how to make their business financially stable or improve their marketing.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to work with our customers to help them maximize their business as well,” Krippinger said. “So many restaurants fail in the first year. It’s a hard business ... We like to say we help them make it. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

This is the third location in the Carolinas. The two others are located in Columbia, Charleston and Charlotte.