I'm a foodie, oh hell, let's just be truthful here... I AM FOOD OBSESSED! I also love grocery shopping because I feel like I am at one with food. Maybe it's in my genes - my father owned a chain of grocery stores back in the old days of Los Angeles and when I was growing up, he was a Dept. Manager at the original Chalet Gourmet at Sunset/Fairfax.
I live in Silver Lake and a little over a year ago, our neighborhood Ralph's closed. Most will tell you quite honestly that our little Ralph's was lacking ievery way possible BUT if you needed milk on a Sat night or you forgot rolls for Thanksgiving Dinner, Ralphs was there. So our ego's were just a wee bit hurt that we'd been abandoned. Our only nearby shopping options were Gelson's and TJs on Hyperion (you know... the one with the parking lot from hell).
Then came the news that Whole Foods was coming to town... Woo Hoo!! Everyone was excited UNTIL it was leaked that it was a "new" brand of Whole Foods, the first of it's kind to be exact, a less expensive version of Whole Foods, called 365 that would cater to the Millennials. There would be no wine bar, no promised tattoo parlor (yes we were told we could get wine and a tat while shopping) just a bare bones grocery store that sold the 365 label. Sigh... so much drama unfolded on every Facebook group, Twitter Feed and local news rag. I honestly resolved myself to continue my trek to Burbank for groceries which I was happy to do since I am not a huge WF fan anyway.
So for a little over a year, the local shopping center down the hill from me went through a complete makeover. Rumors continued to fly about what was moving into the shopping center. To this day I'm not even quite sure myself. I guess we'll find out in the next couple of months.
Fast forward to today, May 25, 2016 and the Grand Opening of the first 365 by Whole Foods in the country... drum roll please!!
Never in all my wildest dreams would I have conceived such an amazing store! The first thing I noticed is how large the store looked on the inside compared to the original sad Ralphs. 365 was bright and open and huge aisles. The store is completely digital and you pay by the container for prepped foods, not by the lb. I had read that it would be stocking only the 365 label and to set the record straight on that... NOT TRUE. We even found our beloved Annie's Goddess Dressing!
The produce is on the left side of the store with a separate air conditioning area (think Costco). While there is no Meat Dept with an onsite butcher, they had a fabulous selection of great looking/quality precut and packed meat. The Fresh Eats Dept makes prepped and packaged food to go and pizza too and all at a very reasonable price. Considering it was opening day and we were there at 5, I was surprised how well stocked the store still was. Let's talk pricing... I paid over $2.00 less for my Organic Whole Milk and just 50 for my cucumber compared to Von's. Pricing was more comparable to Trader Joes but IMHO with a larger selection and no crazy parking lot to contend with.
While admittedly there was a long line for checkout, we were assured that the wait would be short because they had 9 registers open and they called it... barely a wait and while you're in line you can pick up a few trial sizes of some of your favorite health and beauty products. Did you know that Tom's of Maine has travel toothpaste? Neither did I. There is a separate express (5ish or less items) checkout for customers using ApplePay (something I need to look into!).
My daughter pointed out the CEO and I went up and told him that he hit it out of the park with the store and it exceeded every expectation I had. I got high five'd!! :)
So if you find yourself in my little hood of Silver Lake, I think it's definitely worth your time to stop by and check out 365 by Whole Foods for yourself! Who knows, maybe we'll run into each other there! I have a funny feeling it's going to be my home away from home!! xo Lisa - Beauty Cafe