The new Montrose Whole Foods Market opens Wednesday, but officials gave CultureMap a sneak peek of the store this morning. Amid workers furiously getting everything ready for next week's opening, Whole Foods Houston rep Kimberly Crowder pointed out some of the store's neat new features, including:
- A wine and beer bar with 14 stools for sit-down tastings,
- A taco bar, where customers build their own creations, including vegan options,
- A 44-foot-long "aisle of bulk," with bins of grains, nuts, spices and other staples,
- An Allegro coffee bar, featuring exclusive coffee beans from around the world,
- Indoor/outdoor patio with retractable garage doors that can be opened on a nice day,
- A sandwich bar featuring new creations named for area landmarks, including the Art Car, Midtown Munch, Heights Stacker and the Montrose Shuffle, a sandwich of portobello mushrooms, mozzarella, roasted red pepper and basil pesto on foccacia bread.
The store, located at Waugh and Dallas, also has lots of green features, including a 1,500-gallon cistern that collects rainwater (if it ever rains) and redistributes it to water plants on the property, LED lighting that adjusts according to sunlight that floods into the store through windows (some are tinted in rainbow colors as a nod to the area's sizable gay and lesbian community, Crowder said) and a couple of charging stations for electric cars in the parking lot.
Houston artists David A. Brown, Pen Morrison, Celeste Tammariello, Syd Moen, Lisa Chow and Julio Crews have contributed pieces that appear on the patio and in an indoor coffee lounge, which also features a paint-by-number mural on the wall in tribute to the Art Car Parade.
Shoppers can also purchase their own work of art from a refurbished cigarette machine in the lounge, which has free Wi-Fi. "We hope this will be the neighborhood gathering spot," Crowder said.
There are 250 parking spaces, although many of the prime spots closest to the store are for compact cars only. Wonder if the parking situation will resemble that of the "Whole Foods Parking Lot" anthem shot in LA?