Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! When I started out this blog, I had one intention, I wanted to cover retail-focused content about my fair Bayou-City. This blog actually started all the way back in 2015. One thing I never had intentions of doing was becoming a food critic. I don’t have the palate or the expressive vocabulary needed to accomplish this I like fast food and small words. That being said, today we’re doing a restaurant review well sort of, I’d struggle to call today’s topic a true restaurant as it’s not even in the name. Kitchen United Mix is a ghost kitchen, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, basically it’s a kitchen run by a third party, contracted by certain restaurants to prepare food for them. Ghost kitchens are not brand new and saw a rise in popularity for increasing delivery service areas, without having to build a restaurant. The success of ghost kitchens has been largely dependent on the increase in demand for food delivery options, however, ghost kitchens have also gained a somewhat negative reputation. They’re generally considered lower quality than the normal selection and have a more limited fare. To help combat this, ghost kitchens have largely started to move away from the food truck/trailer setups they were initially born out of, and into more permanent spaces. Kitchen United’s idea is to bring these ghost kitchens directly into grocery stores, and create a banner for them to all operate under. It’s not a bad situation you think about it. Many grocery stores already lease out space, and fast-food restaurants inside them are not terribly uncommon either. The partnership between Kroger and KMU was announced earlier this year, with plans to move into multiple Kroger locations throughout the nation. The ghost kitchens will feature a combination of both national and local brands, but I was interested in trying out Fuddruckers. As one of my favorite burger joints, any attempt to save it is met with praise by me. There was a recent announcement that a Kitchen United Mix location would open in a Houston Kroger, and I wanted to check it out!
So, now it’s time to tell you how the burger was, and while I do often mention the quality of food on HRR, I’ll be honest in saying that I’m more often than not on the generous side. This was not a good burger, and it was not a Fuddruckers burger. The bun was there’s, but nothing else was. The patty could have been from Fudd’s but the seasoning on it definitely was not. The produce was warm, wilted, and much lower quality than the norm. The potato wedges were a marked improvement but also had the seasoning problem. They had been seasoned, but it wasn’t with Fuddruckers spices, this tasted like Lawry’s. The brownie was fine and likely trucked in, although I do wish they offered the Rice Krispie Treats instead. Overall, I can’t say I’d come here again. Reading some online reviews, it looks like other folks have had issues with KMU’s Houston location as well. So much so, it seems that it is at least temporarily closed as of the middle of March. Who knows, exactly what the future holds for Kitchen Mix United, but I don’t foresee a full rollout of these ghost kitchens throughout the division. With some stores already struggling for space as is, Kroger’s best bet is not to focus on leasing space, but trying to catch up to HEB before it’s too late. Despite all of its issues, it does seem that Fuddruckers is fully buying into this idea, promoting this as a full-fledged location on their website. We shall see what the future holds for Kroger, and Fuddruckers.