Though not widely known outside its East Coast 'hoods, the Wegmans supermarket chain seems to stay a step ahead of its competitors. Its latest innovation is a winde-by-the-glass dispenser in the cafe at its Allentown, Pa., store.

Customers can buy a 5-ounce glass of selected red or white wines with a prepay card for $6 to $10, or a 2.5-ounce pour for about half that. Just want a “sample?” They go for $1 to $2.

Wegmans and Whole Foods are becoming strong contenders in casual dining as well as groceries. Both offer menus featuring everything from sushi to Thai food. Some stores in the chains have seafood bars as well.

Wegmans isn't saying where else it's testing the wine-by-the-glass experiment, according to the Allentown Morning Call. Wegmans operates a full-service bar at its Collegeville, Pa., store, with beer on tap, martinis and other mixed drinks as well as a wide selection of wines.

All of this muscling in on restaurants is occurring as other retailers are invading the supermarkets' turf. CVS and other chain pharmacies are stocking wider selections of groceries lately, as are dollar stores. Target and Wal-Mart continue to expand the grocery sections in their superstores and are Wal-Mart is looking at recreating the corner market in dense urban areas.