Starting today, the Whole Foods Market (WFM) at 4420 Willard Avenue NW opens its brand spanking new, gourmet delicacy-revealing doors to the public. This latest addition to The Shops at Wisconsin Place and the Whole Foods Market chain is twice as large as the current shop on River Road and, as experienced in yesterday’s blogger preview, brings new and innovative offerings to the area and highlights local growers, products and farmers.
According to my tour guide Ellen James, Whole Foods defines the term “local” as any location within one day’s drive of the store. That means the truck needs to leave and return to the store within 24 hours. So we’re reasonably talking PA, MD, DC, VA, DE, and WV. If you really pushed it, perhaps NC, NJ, NY, etc. but WF knows that’s pushing it.
Throughout the tour it was clear that deep thought and local area market research went in to the design of this facility. Not only will you find the traditional WF staples (salad bar, global cuisine bar, olive bar, meat counter, cheese shop, fish monger, soup station, etc.) but some additions and features specific to our regional palates.
One such addition is the “Smoker” station, where you’ll find deliciously in-store smoked brisket, chicken, pork and traditional sides likes Carolina rice, collard greens, and mac n’ cheese. This station is a permanent addition to the by-the-pound bars at this location and will also be the testing spot for the new bio boxes designed to help customers with portion control.
A feature I find visually appealing and highly useful are the WF’s chalkboard signs. The signs are always so beautifully designed and the penmanship is outstanding. So jealous. Turns out that these signs are created by 6 local area artists and are continually being worked on and designed. What I also like about the chalkboards is that they contain pertinent information, likes recipes, for the goods they’re promoting.
A local area exclusive to the store is the brand new Virginia Chutney Company flavors Fig and Honey Pear. These summertime preserves are only available at the Friendship Heights Whole Foods, and have suggested cheese pairings to go along with them.
The store’s designs feature an upfront coffee/breakfast bar that will open at 6am Monday thru Friday and feature Allegro beans, baked goods, juices and a hot oatmeal station with a complete line of fixings.
Additional features include a salt station stocked with “finishing salts” that can be used for cooking, but are usually sprinkled on dishes after cooking and right before consumption. If you’ve never used finishing salts, you should try it. They can really add robust favor to your meals. There’s also the extremely cute “Honey Bear” fill up station that lets you fill up your own little bear with a selection of sweet syrups. The Whole Body Department, often a “scary” and intimidating section, is currently featuring the soap of Baltimore based Biggs & Featherbelle and feel free to ask this section’s staff any questions you have about their beauty, body and nutritional products. They’re there to help!
In the seafood department, you’ll find fish as fresh as they come, especially since WF’s regional seafood facility is located in nearby Landover, Maryland. BE sure to check out the shop’s Friday Swordfish cutting, where the fishmongers custom cut your order straight from a whole 200-300 pound swordfish right in front of you.
Whether you’re in the area or not, the new Friendship Heights Whole Foods Market is definitely a must-check-out. Either poke your head in to shop, eat, browse, learn or simply check out the wonderful produce.
Full disclosure: I did receive a goodie bag for attending the Friendship Heights’ Whole Foods Market blogger preview.