Whole Foods--Portland, ME
Anyone been to the Whole Foods store that just opened in Portland? I read they're trying to feature local products. I'd love to hear from anyone who's been there.
The new Whole Foods is great. I think that some things were a little overpriced. The seafood counter especially, with Atlantic Salmon @ 10.99lb and Chilean Sea Bass @ 22.95lb. In general, I think the seafood counter is the least impressive aspect of the new store. I love their meat counter, which includes strips and porterhouses that have been dry-aged in house, and at 19.99lb and 17.99lb respectively, a pretty good deal. Their produce seems to be priced very similarly to Hannafords (lemons .79, limes 2 for $1, bananas .79) and some really great deals as well (San Marzano Tomatoes 28oz cans 2 for $4, normally 3.79 per can at Hannafords). Obviously, Whole Foods is known for their to-go/prepared foods, which includes lots of hot, ready-to-eat things (salad bar, trail mix bar, Italian bar, dessert bar, gelato bar) as well as packaged things to heat up at home. Most of it looks pretty good and is pricey, but not crazy by any means. If you happen to love sweets and cheeses, then you will really love Whole Foods, since both departments are excellent. Overall, Whole Foods is a lot better than Wild Oats, which has a much more limited selection and is definitely more expensive across the board.
In terms of the local product thing, when you walk in the front doors, there's a sign listing the number of Maine made products currently available. Last week the sign said 500.
I feel that Whole Foods prepared foods look much better then they taste, whereas Wild Oats has better tasting prepared foods. I feel they are way overpriced, but they are a specialty market. The bread dept. at Whole Foods sucks, whereas the bread dept at Wild Oats is great.
I disagree Irwin - I actually found the almost the same bread selection (including When Pigs Fly) at Whole Foods when I went there today.
I like the place, but wish they had a few more "plain old everyday" items like Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup. Despite the selection at Whole Foods, I STILL need to go to Hannaford to find things that the kids will eat...
Right now parking at Whole Foods is a real challange - if you are eager to try the place out I'd visit during off-peak hours, especially if its your first time in the store. The good news is that there are SEEMING THOUSANDS of employees to help you find things - when was the last time you found employees at Hannaford or Shaws conveniently in the aisles, just to help you out (not that I expect that level of customer service to LAST)?