Whole Food Chandler - now open
Today was the opening day so I went for my lunch hour. It is huge - over 60,000 sq feet of organic goodness.
Ah! We drove by last night and the parking lot was packed so we thought they were open and pulled in. They weren't but you could see lots of people working in the store...must have been getting ready for today.
The zPizza guys that are going in there told me nothing would be open before first week of Dec so this is a pleasant surprise. We live down the street and we've heard it's going to have a much bigger/better prepared foods selection than the Tempe store. Did you find this to be the case?
Though I have to admit I hope they don't put the Sprouts down the road out of business.
We leave half a mile down the road towards McClintock so I've been waiting for it to open.
They have about 3 places you can actually sit and have food in the Whole Foods..There is a wine bar, a BBQ/smoked meat area, sushi area etc. etc.
Lots of already prepared food. There are like 4 or more salad bars!!! We picked up some marinated meats to grill last night (there were 16 varieties of sausage - chicken, lamb, pork etc).
Of course Spouts is still more affordable and I don't want to see it go away...
Stopped in today.
Definitely a nice store. Things that stood out to me--besides the sheer size of the place--are the smoked fish/seafood section, the tapioca/rice pudding bar, and the international foods hot table. As previously mentioned, there are three dining areas: a burger/beer place near the meat areas, a tapas/wine bar, and a sushi/Asian food area. The prepared foods areas are more like the PV store, although obviously much, much larger.
Friendly staff, but clearly new.
Sprouts will most likely not suffer much due to Whole Foods' AJ's-like prices. Definitely worth a visit, however.
we got back in town last night. Since I had to work all day today and husband brought home a wicked cold...i told him not to worry about making dinner tonight and we went down and checked out the new neighbor tonight.
Impressively large store. Definitely much nicer than the Tempe location with much more interesting offerings. Husband wasn't too hungry and I wasn't particularly either so we just tried a bit of the Indian food off the hot food bar. It was OK, not great but not bad either. Will take some time to sort out what's good. The Asian food looked pretty good and seems to be made to order.
We sampled a couple of the sorbets - the apple armagnac was tasty. Brought some mango rice pudding home which was pretty good.
Also did some shopping. If you watch the prices closely you can shop pretty competetively but you have to shop very carefully and have a good idea of what other places are charging to know what things are ridiculously overpriced and which are good values($.99 Italian sparkling water for a liter for instance!)
I was put off by the big sign in front of the 365 butter (organic rbst free) "$2.49" Seemed to good to be true so I had to take a closer look and sure enough...it's in front of a typical one pound box but the $2.49 price is per 4 oz...so the box is $10. I wonder how many people don't even notice this...like I said you really need to pay attention when you shop here, especially if you're doing your "everyday" shopping.
Husband was impressed with the many sausage offerings...brought home some Moroccan Lemon Lamb sausage to try out(probably in soup tomorrow night).
I noticed all the sausages too - very impressive.
Some random observations:
-The bread baked "in-house" is par-baked at corporate and finished on-site for ten minutes - interesting; I found this out after asking someone in the bakery if they sold par-baked bread.
-The pizza sold by the pound is so-so; AJs is much better IMHO.
-Love the tapas bar area (Opus One b-t-g @ $18!!!), enjoyed a pint of Stone 11th Anniversary Black IPA ($6.99/pint, ouch) and some bread; cheese plate looked good, although I wasn't in the mood.
-Seafood selection looked good; they had branzino on special @ $6.99/lb - good price.
-I asked if they had any bacon truffles or chocolate in their chocolate case - no luck. OTOH, I was planning on paying $1.99 for a delicious-looking gray sea salt truffle and was given it for free - nice service and very, very good.
-No rendered duck fat - big disappointment. Have been looking for a local source of duck fat instead of buying it online, but alas, the meat guy told me it'd be against health code violations to sell it - not sure if I believe that.
All in all, I am looking forward to going back. I didn't see half of what they had since I was famished and really just there to eat, but it would be really hard to get a grasp on all their offerings w/o at least a few hrs dedicated to it, and that might not even be enough time.
We went the opening day. While waiting in line for free champagne, we noticed they had Warres Optima (10 yr) Port, which is one of favorites. We've never seen it in Arizona. We got very excited, and after drinking our free champagne walked over there only to find there was no price tag on it. We got help from one of the wine dept guys, who looked it up on a price list and said it was $14. We've never even seen it for under $22, so we just nodded at the guy, trying not to look overly ecstatic at the probable mistake, and got a bottle. We probably should have bought a few more while Whole Foods was clueless about the mix-up but that might have looked suspicious.
We haven't been back since the Tempe Whole Foods is closer to us, but I wonder if they still have that pricing screw up.