Gothamist had the chance to get a sneak peek at the new Whole Foods on the Bowery. Although it's scheduled to open to the public tomorrow there was a pre-opening party last night. Yes - that's right, folks: A party to celebrate the opening of a grocery store which already has a few NYC locations.
But, to be fair, it is the largest Whole Foods in the city, measuring in at a whopping 71,000 square feet. The Bowery and Houston location was also built with the environment in mind. It contains an eco-friendly refrigerating system, recycled building materials, energy efficient lighting and electricity purchased with wind energy credits. (There are also discounts on coffee if you bring your own mug and pies when you bring back the plates for the made-from-scratch pies.) In keeping with the environmental theme, the opening party was a fundraiser for Riverkeeper, an environmental neighborhood watch program.
The vastness of the store is truly something. The aisles are wide and spacious, and there are unique stations and features, like a chili bar; a full-on gelato section featuring luscious selections from Il Laboratorio del Gelato; Fresh & Wild, a salad station; Rustica Minardi, an Italian cafe; an enormous fromagerie; a sushi bar with a conveyor belt and a french fry station; a cafe with views of Houston and Allen Street; and a room for cooking classes.
The true test will come tomorrow and in the next weeks and months: Will all of this space contain the crowds that are likely to be drawn in by the lure of gourmet groceries? Will neighbors resent the crowds? And will their check-out lines be manageable or a hot mess (the way they are at Columbus Circle)?