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Market: Whole Foods Northalsted

By Lisa Shames in Food on Jul 31, 2007 4:00PM

rsz_IMG_1587.jpgWe were so excited about checking out the new Whole Foods Market in Boystown which opened last week, that we accidentally grabbed our Trader Joe’s reusable bag instead of our Whole Foods one (we figure it’s the thought that counts, right?). But walking around the large airy store with Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Starting Something” playing in the background, we quickly forgot all about our faux pas as well as that of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and his Wild Oats Market blog bashing (can we say “busted”?).

We loved that the beautiful color-tiled façade of the building is still intact which we think lends support to the store’s statement of looking “forward to participating in many of the community’s cultural events, including Pride Parade and Northalsted Market Days and to sharing the neighborhood with some of our favorite vendors and hot spots.” Need more convincing that the store gets the hood? We noticed in their events calendar for August a “Guys’ Night Out,” complete with samples of skin and body care products (sadly we didn’t see a “Girls Night Out,” but hopefully that’s just an oversight). And we wouldn’t be surprised if the ongoing free wine and cheese mixer becomes the place to start the evening on Fridays.

rsz_IMG_1591.jpgHere’s what else we loved:

  • The food in the three double-sided buffet bars — with plenty of walking around room — looked really fresh, especially the Mexican chickpeas, tandoori chicken and sautéed collard greens with bacon. (Note: We didn’t like the grazers that seem to be part of any Whole Foods, who wander with plastic fork and cup in hand treating the buffet as their private freebie food trough. You know who you are.)
  • The green Melamine-looking plates and bowls for eating in the cozy lounge.
  • The cozy lounge with a huge front window overlooking Halsted.
  • The 18 flavors of gelato. (Need we say more?)
  • The made-to-order rice and noodle bowl station, complete with plastic replicas of the dishes (call us crazy, but we love those!).
  • The Taste of Vino machine, which lets you try Opus One for $8, as well as Terrasses Rhone Valley Ventoux for $.75.
  • The helpful guy at the deli who recommended pairing Asiago cheese with the Vesuvio roasted turkey breast. (“They complement each other really well.”)

Whole Foods Market Northalsted is open daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m.