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WFM Manhattan Beach

Whole Foods opened today on Sepulvedea and Rosecrans. I met one of the managers who said the store is 65,000 square feet (the website says 50,000), and he thinks it will be THE highest grossing store in the region.

There's plenty of parking outside, no need to make sharp turns in a sub-terrainean parking structure here. The store is flanked by a Chick's Sporting Goods and some home store. The store front isn't that eye catching, but once you enter, it is indeed breathtaking.

The produce section is large and roomy, and in the corner is a "Fresh Produce Grilling Station". There is also a meat and seafood grilling station, with a sign saying they will grill or cook anything you want. There are shelves and shelves of wine. And, 3 large cases of fine cheeses.

The salad bar has 9-10 stations, including a dessert station.

There is dine-in seating for the Asian station or the Mexican station. There is a pizza oven, sandwich bar, coffee bar, tea bar, truffle case, fresh gelato station, fresh tortillas. But, the MOST impressive thing for me is the bakery. There are all kinds of italian tortas, tomato breads, so over-whelming. All their desserts in the bakery are made in store, and are decorated beautifully.

I spent 30 minutes walking around, before even thinking about buying something. This area is very lucky to have this store. I can't think of anything negative to say about the store at all. Maybe the service isn't as good as the older location, and the employees aren't as nice as in the other stores, but that's understandable with all the hoopla of opening day.

I took a slew of photos, before someone stopped me (it was only a matter of time). I've posted one of them.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Where did you post it? I have to go there. Did they have an Indian stand? I heard that their Manhattan store has Indian food...regardless sounds cool. My favorite whole foods is in santa monica. Although I like my B.H. store, but it's small. I was once at the Whole Foods store in Woodland Hills, which was nice, but still like the SM store better. This all sounds silly, but I can't help it...

    1 Reply
    1. re: hazelnutty

      FYI-they do have Indian food in the "hot food ethnic" section. I saw some daal and saag paneer and other stuff.

    2. I meant the picture, where did you post it?

      1. Were they giving out a lot of samples? Any freebies for opening day?

        8 Replies
        1. re: hazelnutty

          I thought you could post a photo on here. Guess not.

          Pretty much everything was up for sampling, even in the parking lot. I got a free tote bag, after spending $40. Make sure you sample stuff from the bakery. They will sample out ANYTHING. I really enjoyed this Italian torta with potatoes and egg. There are 3 kinds.

          Also, I not too far from the Santa Monica store, and that too is my favorite. This is like the Santa Monica store, but double the size. Sky lights, no flourescent lighting everywhere. What they did have here is a GREAT bulk section, where SM discontinued it (too many sampling directly from the bin).

          What I like better at the Manhattan Bch/El Segundo store is it's so roomy.

          Right now, Glendale and Santa Monica go back and forth as #1 store in the region. I bet this El Segundo location will take the prize.

          And, I've been to the Manhattan locations. They're nice for Manhattan, but they have it rough out there. Those stores don't even come close to the Whole Foods out here. Those stores do better in sales, but they don't come close in quality. I've tried the Indian food at the Central Park store, and I wish I'd gotten something else. And, the produce there? No where near what we have here.

          1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

            I don't think Santa Monica ever had the "bulk section". My B.H. store has always had it. I hope they don't get rid of it b/c of sampling. Again for some reason they didn't design S.M. with the bulk section. I could be wrong.

            I can't wait to go...it's so funny to get excited about a supermarket, but I love to eat and look at new products, new layouts, and compare stores and so on.

            Thanks for the "review".

            1. re: hazelnutty

              Both Santa Monica and Brentwood discontinued their bulk service. Santa Monica's bulk was located in the far northeast corner of the store, where the chips etc are. They regret not designing the store to accomodate the bulk section closer to the front registers, that's according to one of the (former)managers.

              The Co-op's bulk section is good, but nothing like the El Segundo Whole Foods, though.

              1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

                Interesting Frank, I did not know that. The B.H. store has a very good bulk section. What do you mean by "the co-op's bulk section". Is that a store?

                1. re: hazelnutty

                  Co-opportunity in Santa Monica on Broadway and 16th. It's like an Erewhon (sp?). Co-op has been around much longer than WFM, and they have higher standards food-wise (I don't know what those standards are, however). They carry more organic produce than Whole Foods, and maybe a wee less in price. The have a huge raw section and a prepared foods deli that's pretty darn good. Parking can be a bear sometimes, but nowhere near the zoo as WFM Santa Monica.

                  One thing the Co-op has that is amazing is their vitamin department and their body department.

                  1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

                    Thank You! How did I miss this one...I do most of my food shopping in Santa Monica so I will definetly check the co-op out.

            2. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

              I used the "Attach Photo" function in a post and it worked perfectly. You may have to watch your file size, as I always reduce my photos to 750 by x for inserting into e-mail. This was the file size I used which worked, then the reader can click to enlarge in the Chowhound post.

              1. re: BN1

                Wow, it worked! Ok, here are some photos. I was taking photos for about a 1/2 hour until someone stopped me.

                I heard they're trying to ward off the competition from Tesco, which is opening next year. They were really nice about asking me to stop, though.

          2. Just to be nitpicky, it's not Manhattan Beach, it's in El Segundo! That said, I am out of town at the moment but am looking forward to going there this weekend when I'm back in the area. I've been waiting for months for this WF to open!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Dav

              Yes, I know it's not Manhattan Beach. The manager kept calling it Manhattan Beach, but the website says El Segundo. You're going to love it.

              1. re: Dav

                Glad to see El Segundo got that mall. The Cost Plus World Market there is a great little place also - I've bought plenty of wine there lately, some nice finds like the Murphy Goode chardonnay that's buttery because they actually subject it to a secondary fermentation process. Wonderful Italian cookies and other pantry goods too.

                The mall area has a Borders bookstore (coffee in the back), a BestBuy, a sporting goods place, a Smith & Hawken garden store, a Sur La Table, and some pet food place... kind of hard to find the turn-in spot on your first pass, if you're coming from the north... check the map first.

              2. As I was driving by, I saw the new "Now Open" sign of Sepulvida.

                Today was quite the day, but I can't wait to take a tour tomorrow and grab some lunch.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Swoshmn

                  I was there at lunchtime and had a total out of body experience! I live closer to the one in Redondo (which I loathe, except for the people who are great) because often the fish is a little old (stinky old) and space is tight and sometimes not sure what I am paying for...

                  The new location is a very different kettle of (fresh) fish. I am the type of person who needs a list and a full stomach to shop and I went today with neither. I came home with two kinds of oysters (both pacific-no eastern oysters which is sad), a block of Australian cheddar (2.99/lb!) which is so delicious, some sushi (eh), my fav tortilla chips (Casa Sanchez) and a load of other goodies.

                  I was too overwhelmed by all the food stations to eat there but did sample the pizza (not bad but very expensive by the pound), cheese, olives, bread, goji berries, chocolate covered coffee beans and some gelato, Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?

                  Next time, I am taking a Xanax so I can last more than twenty minutes-it is huge as described above and quite overwhelming....

                2. just came from there.
                  to my tastes, this is the best of the LA upscale grocery stores.
                  they blow the santa monica and brentwood locations out of the water.
                  the sheer scope of all their offerings in one place sent me into a tizzy.
                  the muscat grapes they were selling today were fantastic.
                  i was pleased with the gelato, too.

                  the fact that it also has EASY PARKING, was the cherry on the cake.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Yes parking is fantastic. I am wondering now about all the new eateries going in on the other side of the lot. Salt Creek something or other seems to be open already. Wondering if anyone has tried it? We have such a dearth of good restaurants in this area that anything new gets my attention.

                    1. re: Densible

                      haven't tried it yet, but I have been the Salt Creek Grill in Dana Point. Wonder if it has the same owners?

                  2. I went there yesterday too, and this is seriously the nicest supermarket I have ever been to! I was blown away by the huge selection of amazing-looking products available. The OP did a great job of describing it, but the only thing I would add is that there was actually a wine tasting bar! The only negative was the gelato station. It was expensive for a very small serving. Which I would be okay with if the gelato was great, but it just wasn't. The flavor was good, but the texture was all wrong...one flavor was ice-y instead of creamy, another was like pretty good icecream but not like gelato at all. And the guy working at the gelato stand was rude, to boot. But all the other staff I encountered there were ridiculously nice and friendly, and really encouraged me to sample things. And there are signs posted all over indicating that you can sample anything if you just ask. So this whole foods is definitely very impressive!--just don't get the gelato.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Nicole

                      Couldn't agree more. The whole foods on Fairfax and in Beverly Hills have the gelato station which comes from the ciao bella brand (totally don't care for). I don't even know why they wasted space in my B.H. store for the gelato place--it's lame!!! Especially with all the "real gelato" places opening up or have opened in L.A, why would I buy it at Whole Foods.
                      A good ice cream at W.F. is Julie's Organic Ice Cream, the blackberry is gooood, and the bars are great. They have it in the frozen food section(obviously).

                      1. re: hazelnutty

                        in the south bay, however, there is a dearth of good frozen dessert options.
                        so, to me, the ciao bella gelato is a welcome addition.

                        p.s. i know and love delicieuse, but they are only open 3 days a week!

                      2. re: Nicole

                        I, too, was there yesterday, and while you complain about the gelato, wait for a week and go back and try it again. Probably installed within a day or two of opening. May have been icier than it should have been. Let the system adjust, and you might be surprised. Had the stuff in Glendale and it is very good, but it has been set up there for a while.
                        Other comments: where else do you get at least 6 different selections of either rice or tapioca puddings?!! The chocolate section, the seafood salad bar, and I could go on and on.
                        It is on a par with the one in Austin, north Dallas, and the one at Columbus Circle in NYC.
                        Be prepared downtown LA - yours is on the way, via the related company project east of Disney Hall to commence construction late this year, and open by 2009, maybe 2010.
                        Truly an amazing grocery shopping experience, one that everyone should see asap!!!!!!

                        1. re: Nicole

                          For those of us in the area craving something cold and sweet, don't worry... a Pinkberry will be opening in Plaza El Segundo sometime this summer!

                          As for the WFM, I went yesterday, and WOW. It is fantastic. Extremely crowded (to be expected). I liked the vegetable grilling station with the flat panel TV that showed an overhead view of the grill. Totally unnecessary, but amusing! And I'm looking forward to trying some of the eat-in options. I work in the area, and perhaps sometime this week I will stop in for lunch for a plate of their chicken katsu curry. :D

                          Since this place is open, I'm thinking that the bristol farms down the street on Rosecrans is going to lose a lot of business... and they just went through a major remodel.

                        2. I heard the Pasadena store would be the biggest in the region, but I don't think that can be true. this one in El Segundo sounds huge. Can't wait to see it.

                          1. I visited the store today and it is AMAZING! Yes indeed everyone should experience this store at least once. Although if you do it only once, you'll need the whole day!
                            They were giving samples of hamburgers on the parking lot which were really delicious. They have a vegetable grilling station on the left as you walk in--interesting. There is a Velhorona chocolate stand in the back somewhere. There is a brazilian/mexican ready serve food section. I bought coffee butter at the butter station, unreal! There is a great selection of meat. Also they have a seafood/meat serving station. I will be returning very soon.

                            The Pasadena store will be 80,000sq.ft. and two stories and that's opening soon--crazy!!

                            I don't like Ciao Bella ice cream, thus don't care for the so called "gelato" at any of the whole foods--but that is my only complaint if you will, although it's not a complaint b/c I don't go to Whole Foods for the ready serve ice cream and if other people like it, then it's all good!

                            1. WOW. Amazed at the store....HIGH ceilings, the store just looked amazing...

                              I had the proscuitto and mozerella sandwhich, grilled (proscuitto wasn't parma....oh well...for 6.99 wasn't bad)......

                              chocolate section, grill, brazilian churuscia, and a whole slew of ready to go entrees....i'll be here 3 times a week!

                              customer service is a bit rough around the edges...but expected when they first open i suppose.

                              might go back later tonight just to browse around!

                              1. Went there again today. Third time in the 4 days it has been open, and each time I discover something new there. Anyway, went to the deli counter today and found the service pretty bad...but I'll excuse it because they just opened, and I'm sure the service will improve with time. I found the deli meats and cheeses pretty good, but I definitely like the stuff at Bristol Farms better. So that's one thing I'll still to to Bristol Farms (on Rosecrans) for.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Nicole

                                  I went there today after being there yesterday, and although I still found it amazing, it's too big for me, not to mention to far, but mostly too big. The employees were very nice but there were some problems when my mom got a plate of food from one section and went to eat where the tables and chairs are, apparently the food has to be in a box. I don't know, it was this whole thing. I think the employees are overwhelmed and probably tired of giving out samples constantly. Still though it's an awesome store, but I'm thankful for my little b.h. store. I probably go to the smallest Whole Foods- and I like my Santa Monica store.

                                  I'm happy for the MB people and surrounding areas that they have this great store, but it's not for me.

                                2. We went this weekend as well, and I think the word is... ASTOUNDING!!! We were just left speechless at the whole thing. It had all my specialty items (including nut thins! whee!! :D) and we had lunch there...

                                  Honestly though, I would not have lunch there again, the main issue with the place is that it still very much feels like a supermarket. I would rather eat in the comfort of my home or a real restaurant. Most of the staff there is also rather green. I picked up a cheese, no idea what it was or how much it costs. They forgot about my tea order and then brewed the wrong one. Had to wait a little while for pudding while the more 'experienced' member printed out the label.

                                  Overall, I am glad it's in the neighborhood (I got the gym in El Segundo), however, I will use it mostly for what it's meant for, a grocery store... and of course pick up some of that awesome chai rice pudding and cranberry tuna. ;D