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Feb 13, 2013 05:50 PM

Another Whole Foods coming to Berkeley

The UC Village project in Albany couldn't get done.. so they're going into the Office Depot location on Gilman in Berkeley

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  1. I guess the space is zoned such that there won't be any issues.

    1. That's great. Just what that area needs, more traffic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wolfe

        The store is opening tomorrow. Note that over the weekend, the city started placing signs up for parking machines. The area is now a Maximum Rate zone, just like the heart of downtown. The store was allowed to open with only 89 parking spaces. I'm sure that the Dollar Tree, T-Rex, and Philz lots will be at trigger-happy-tow enforcement when they see folks crossing to the Whole Foods.

      2. So I walked down there after voting -- wow, where did all those people come from? They weren't my neighbors from the church basement where I'd just been marking my ballot. I guess the crowded parking lot said as much.

        I'm not that familiar with Whole Foods. Produce is more expensive than at the Monterey Market, so I won't get that. And I'll keep getting my fish from Tokyo Fish. Westbrae's dairy is good. I may buy the house brand if I need something like canned beans or boxed broth. The prepared food looked nice, but expensive. Two slices of pizza for $6 might be worth it. I know my son's a fan of their fried chicken. Any other recommendations? How's the cheese?

        I guess it's a nice addition to the neighborhood, but I don't feel it was really needed.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Glencora

          I've found WF prepared foods not only to be expensive, but generally to look better than they taste.

          If you live close to Monterey Market, Tokyo Fish and the like, there's really no reason to shop at WF. I Iive in Oakland, and now find myself buying mostly at my favored farmer's markets, and the Food Mill for dried beans and cereal. My visits to WF have dwindled down a a very few.

        2. Berkeleyside's piece on the opening has some interesting quotes from competing grocers.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Wow, cutting cheese to order. What an innovation.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Ha! That was the statement from WF that made me lose it too. Now that they've figured this out, I wonder if they'll change the crappy cheese service in the rest of their stores.

          2. The store was insanely busy late Saturday afternoon. Fairly unpleasant. I have to report, sadly, that the blueberries were cheaper than those I'd bought at the Monterey Market the day before and Toby's salad dressing much cheaper than at the Natural Grocery. Also the pizza was decent in a greasy salty way. I liked the crust. And since Albany Lanesplitter doesn't sell slices, I may pick up a couple here from time to time. My family is definitely being tempted by having a Whole Foods so close. Hopefully the novelty will wear off. I did insist on going to Acme for a baguette earlier in the week.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Glencora

              I've gotten slices from the Albany Lanesplitter lots of times. Did they switch to whole pies only?

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I think they used to be whole pies only and switched to slices available.

                As for the WF, I've been a few times. It is extremely convenient, as I will never have to park in that atrocious lot. My tentative verdict(s):
                (1) If I need something on Sunday, or late on other nights, it will be my most convenient open option;
                (2) If it is something that Tokyo Fish carries, I will buy it at TFM;
                (3) They have appealing sale items, and I've already bought a few (including a 4 pack of Rubicon Bakery cupcakes for what, $2, and they are tastier than most of the fancy overpriced cupcakes I've had around the area);
                (4) The prepared foods are variable, to wit:
                (a) The whole chicken (on sale for $9.99)was ok, but not great. I'm much more likely to get a tastier Mi Tierra chicken and save $7 or so from the regular WF price;
                (b) The pre-made (refrigerator case) pizza and chicken wing deal ($9.99 for the large pizza plus a nice sized tray of wings) had a pizza we'd never want to eat again, but very tasty wings (and if $6.99 was the regular price of them, I'd get them again)
                (c) The pie ($2.50 a slice on sale) - we tried cranberry and pumpkin, and they were very good. In fact, it seemed like if you got the crust fresh out of the oven, it would be a very good crust.

                I cannot see paying extra for Acme bread for the convenience of not walking a few more blocks (or if I'm paying a premium, TFM will get it) nor buy the "local this and local that" propaganda plastered everywhere.

                I am probably glad my house value is worth more than it was a week ago. I'm also glad that at some point in life, when driving becomes something I shouldn't do anymore, that I'll have a full service market so close to home. Hopefully the retirement funds will allow me to shop there.

                And finally, dear Contra Costa County residents on your way home from work, please spend your money here, leave sales tax revenue here, and maybe some soda tax revenue here, too. And drive safely on Gilman.

                1. re: lmnopm

                  huh. I just learned that Monterey Market finally introduced Sunday hours in 2011.

                  BTW, the patch article's link in the OP is broken right now.

                  1. re: lmnopm

                    Albany Lanesplitter has slices all the time.