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August 10, 2007

Choo-Choo! All aboard the newest Whole Foods

Whole_foods_2August 8th ushered in a new Whole Foods in Chicago's South Loop. It's just a few minutes from my office and many of us were eagerly counting down the days. When I walked in, I was floored! The angels sang and my recyclable tote bag was hungry for new items. I went back today to get photos and more details, but alas, corporate rules prohibit such fan girl antics. I am hoping that their regional media folks will grant me a personal tour. But here are my thoughts from memory!

First, you walk into the produce. Glorious, glorious fruits & veggies stacked like art. Then you head into a the meat department, which is usually too pricey for us so I smile and walk past. To the SMOKEHOUSE. Yes, there's a smoke house in this Whole Foods. Are there ones in the suburban WFs?  I know someone who is gonna love this.

The next thing I really noticed was a huge section of not just cosmetics and vitamins for sale, but IMO, a larger section of clothing than I've seen at Chicago WFs. There's even the wall-o-lip balms. Oh, how I love my lip balms!

But wait...turn a corner to the bakery! A wall of fresh bread greets you and get this. There's a dessert bar! Dear goddess, why do you tempt me so? There's also the olive bar (I think it's in the city code), the hot bar (that has more ethnic offerings then I've ever seen in other WFs), salad bar, and of course, my favorite, the soup bar. You can also get fresh pizza, made-to-order sandwiches, gelatto, fancy chocolates, and deli stuff. In the back corner is a wine section, but I'm lame about wines, so I can't say if it's a great wine section or not.

There is a cafe area, so you can grab a plate instead of a box for your food. Lunchtime crowd is huge. You also get free WiFi in the cafe. What else could you ask for?

For one, single serve cream cheese to go with the yummy bagels in the bakery. If they do offer them, I can't find them. Also, sour cream for the chili. How can I enjoy my veggie chili without sour cream?

As you can see from my photo, I did bring back lunch to the office. Cheese manicotti. YUM. Chocolate mousse. YUM. Some free cookies for the daughter and coupons to keep me coming back. As if I needed reasons, but I'll take 'em! And the best find in my 2 days of scavenging the store was Steaz Green Tea Soda in Raspberry. YUM!!

The store is just off the Taylor Street ramp off I-90/94.  Free parking  and you get to drive on the most wicked bridge ever. I really do need to get a photo of it too.

The title refers to the branding the store is using. Their logo is a train and it's on lunch boxes, mugs, clothing, bags, and even a stress reliever that you can purchase in the store. The store is an experience in itself.

For a different perspective on Whole Foods, you can read Kim's take on the old-new WFs off the Edens. I'll leave the food politics to her. I just want to continue to oogle my WFs until the shine wears off.

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