The country's seventh Whole Foods Market 365 location is open in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and it's a bona fide grocery playground. But what exactly is a Whole Foods Market 365, and why should you shop there? Here are 10 reasons.
① Both the conventional and organic produce are cheaper.
Whole Foods wouldn't be Whole Foods without a good selection of organic produce. But instead of offering 10 apple and pear varieties, there might be only four. And don't expect to find exotic imports like dragon fruit. But the savings are real: a 20¢ lime at 365 versus 50¢ at the Whole Foods in Gowanus.
② The meat, poultry and fish are top quality.
There's no outward-facing butcher at the 365, and you probably won't find rare beef cuts there either, as all the meats and fish are already packaged. But everything in the store still meets Whole Foods' rigorous standards, and all the fish is traceable. About that fish—we paid just $4.54 (on sale) for a third of a pound of farmed salmon on a recent visit.
③ There are special deals for members.
Yes, emails from stores are annoying. But we promise it's worth signing up to be a member of 365 (even if you're already a Whole Foods member or Amazon Prime member, you still need to sign up for a 365 membership to get these deals). There are weekly 10-percent-off specials for members, and they always get 10 percent off anything from the bulk-food section.
④ There are other brands besides 365 in the store.
One of our biggest initial concerns was that there'd be a lack of variety—in brand and product—but 365 carries what you'd look for at a typical grocery store. In addition to 365-branded items, you'll find local brands like Frankies olive oil and Sir Kensington's ketchup, as well as national brands like Amy's, Stonyfield and Ezekiel 4:9. Like all Whole Foods, nothing in the store has any preservatives, artificial flavoring or high-fructose corn syrup.
⑤ You can get flowers for $5.
Whole Foods Market 365 has a robust flower selection, with bunches selling for $5, $10, $15 and $20. And the $5 section is not just full of forgotten carnations.
⑥ Learn about (and try) a beer before you buy it.
The store has a strong craft beer selection, and there's an iPad station equipped with Delectable to help consumers choose which beer to buy. You can search the store's database, see reviews from Delectable users and scan bottles to bring up their information. It also suggests beer pairings and recipes.
⑦ There's something called a Pizza Phone. And it's amazing.
The salad and hot bars that Whole Foods is known for thankfully make an appearance at 365, with this location selling square pizza slices. But only in Brooklyn's store will you find a bright-red Pizza Phone, which allows you to order a whole pie to go that will magically appear near checkout.
⑧ You can get baked goods from several local bakeries.
While Orwashers has an actual outlet upstairs, the market level carries breads and pastries from the likes of Roberta's, Bien Cuit, Hot Bread Kitchen and Balthazar.
⑨ It hosts the first East Coast location of a popular vegan burger chain.
There are three food vendors upstairs: a Juice Press; Orwashers' first Brooklyn location (serving sandwiches and salads in addition to bread, coffee and pastries); and the first East Coast location of Oregon's Next Level Burger, a 100 percent plant-based burger spot. Special menu items for this location are the Brooklyn Burger and Fort Green(e) Shake.
⑩ There's a pour-your-own-beer garden.
The cleverly named POURiT Authority, in the upstairs part of the store, has 12 taps with touch screens that display rotating beers, ciders and wines that customers can operate themselves. Different-size glasses are available to fill, including mini sippers for customized tasting flights. Drunk grocery shopping, anyone?
Devorah Lev-Tov is a contributing writer for Tasting Table who travels the globe—and traverses NYC block by block—in search of her next amazing meal. See her latest adventures on her Instagram at @devoltv.
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