The wave of “Park Lane Whole Foods Grand Opening, Coming Soon!” hoopla has taken over the local news outlets, and I didn’t get what the big deal was until D‘s Krista Nightengale and I took a tour today. The new Who’Fo’ is basically like others around town, but it seems better-planned and more indulgent. If you can see past the fish oil and kombucha, Whole Foods is a fun place. The dessert bar is directly beneath an “Our Commitment to Health” sign, which is a few feet away from a frozen yogurt area and a design-your-own cupcake bar. (Look, Nancy! More cupcakes!) Another hands-on project: a bottle-your-own station with six varieties of olive oil and three balsamic vinegars. There are bins of loose-leaf tea, a dozen tubs of salt and pepper (I liked the chardonnay oak-smoked variety), more than 400 types of cheese cut to order, and more than 1,000 wine selections (most are less than $20, and there’s a good showing of unexpected options in splits). The store has a wine bar with one red and one white wine on tap; they’re still working on a handy way to fasten a wine glass safely in a shopping cart. And there’s the fancy touchscreen (above) in the produce department that does this (below) when you touch it. Say you want to make a meal with summer squash and squab: type it into the handy recipe finder and up comes a recipe and shopping list for the remaining ingredients. Pretty clever for folks who shop without a set menu.
(Full disclosure: We ate free cupcakes and walked away with pasta fixin’s for dinner.)