By Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., Williamsburg's long-awaited Whole Foods location will be fully operational. After the bread is broken, they'll fling open the doors at 238 Bedford Avenue to a grocery utopia as-yet unmatched in the neighborhood. With all due respect to the stores that came before: they ain't got nothing on what Whole Foods is about to unleash.
The majority of the market will be downstairs, with the street level housing the food hall-type operation with prepared foods including Luke's Lobster Tail Cart, the coffee bar with pastries from Roberta's, a vegetarian bar from No. 7, and poke, sushi and pizza options. When the weather allows, a retro cart from OddFellows Ice Cream will park outside, then move inside when called for. The street level also houses the 23 cash registers and an adjacent seating area.
Gotham Greens, which boasts a farm atop the Gowanus Whole Foods in addition to another in Greenpoint, will supply packaged lettuces and the market will use some of their produce in prepared and packaged foods. They'll also be part of an exciting "ugly produce" program, which employs greens that aren't the most cosmetically perfect but are still completely viable and delicious (other imperfect produce will be supplied by other producers). They'll be sold at drastically reduced prices, too; a 12 ounce bag of "ugly" greens from Gotham will be $2.99 versus a 5 ounce serving of the aesthetically perfect stuff at $3.99.
The seafood department will sell local, hand-sliced smoked salmon and they'll be making their own ceviches to carry out as well. Instead of taking up space in the garbage, discarded oyster shells will be donated to Billion Oyster Project, which seeks to rebuild the oyster population that kept New York's harbor clean and protected the land from destructive waves. Locally-raised animals are butchered in-store, visible through the open windows adjacent to the in-house, Jewish delicatessen-inspired taproom N4, where they'll pour proprietary draft wines from Red Hook Winery and sell "crowlers" (beer canned on-site) from Brooklyn Brewery.
Bulk foods, the future of grocery store shopping, are a big deal here, too. Pastas, nuts, grains and even hand soaps are all available in bulk level and shoppers can bring their own vessels to fill up. Continuing their trend of bringing on local businesses, Brooklyn Bread Lab will be providing bulk flours that they're milling specially for Whole Foods; the store will also employ the flours in their bakery department.
If you can bear the potential crowds, the store is offering tons of sales for the first week they're open. The first 250 shoppers are getting some cool, natural tie dye-type bags from ALR Dyeing, which they can fill up with produce including organic strawberries and blueberries, which will be discounted, in addition to jars of grocery items like Rao's marinara sauce (the best, truly). On opening day, both this location and the Gowanus Whole Foods will donate 5% of the day's profits to Brooklyn Public Library.