At Hyde Park Village, Sur La Table will be more than a bright new storefront — it's an anchor.
The kitchen specialty store opened Monday with rows of rainbow spatulas and gleaming cutlery lined up to welcome the first customers. But beyond kitchen goods, Sur La Table offers several hands-on cooking classes each week, making its 6,100-square-feet a destination that will draw foot traffic to Hyde Park Village on a regular basis.
The inaugural cooking class will be Friday morning, featuring "deliciously quick fall dinners." There are about 25 classes offered between now and the end of September — and there was a waitlist for 20 of them as of noon Monday.
Classes that normally cost around $70 were discounted to $20 as a grand opening promotion through the end of the month.
"That's what we're known for," said Georg Hoehn, resident chef at the Tampa store, said of the classes. “You get to learn, you get to have fun, and you get to taste, at the end. And then everybody gets to take the recipe back home."
And maybe the attendees will up some cooking supplies on their way out the door?
“Absolutely,” Hoehn said. ‘that would be helpful. We’re certainly using in our kitchen everything we have in our store. We don’t use anything we don’t have in our store.”
As retailers grapple with how to align their brick-and-mortar and ecommerce lines of business, those that have been able to create experiences within their stores have been the most successful. That means the cooking classes are significant for not only Sur La Table but also Hyde Park Village, as the cooking classes will draw more visitors — and likely, their discretionary dollars — to the development.
The Hyde Park Village store is Seattle-based Sur La Table's first in Tampa and second in the region, as it also has a presence in downtown Sarasota. Tampa and St. Petersburg were one of the retailer's most requested areas before it announced the location earlier this year.
The retailer is another critical step in the redevelopment of Hyde Park Village. Earlier this year, Boston-based WS Development started construction on improvements to the storefront facades in the village and has already brought in several new retailers and restaurants, including Paper Source, bartaco and Buddy Brew.
Sur La Table backfills the former Restoration Hardware space, which is opening a new multi-level design gallery at International Plaza later this year.