Restaurants / Openings

Houston’s New Whole Foods Spinoff is Anything But a Cheap Impostor Grocery Store

With Two New Restaurants and 400 Varieties of Produce, Whole Foods 365 is More Than Worthy

BY // 08.21.18

Houston’s first Whole Foods 365, poised to open on Wednesday in Independence Heights, looks — drum roll please — just like a Whole Foods store! The difference is the added expediency of getting dinner on the table and the presence of two bonafide restaurants.

You can’t miss the store at the intersection of Yale and North Loop West thanks to its wildly colored geometric wall facing the freeway, just one indication of Whole Food’s effort to make grocery shopping a bit more playful — and affordable.

One day before the opening, Peli Peli chef Paul Friedman was in interview mode, talking to local media about the latest outpost of his South African restaurant domain tucked into the front of the grocery. At the opposite end of the spanking new 30,000 square foot store, the gang at Juice Society was stocking the shelves and fridges with the magic potions for their wildly popular health-minded beverages and coffees.

Super food latte, anyone? (This is the first Houston locale for the Austin-based juice bar.)

“We are convenient, accessible and we have the greatest curated products available,” store team leader Gerardo Rojas tells PaperCity. “We have the same quality standards as Whole Foods but with easy access of getting in and out.”

Peli Peli chef Paul Friedman
Peli Peli chef Paul Friedman prepares for opening day at Houston’s new Whole Foods 365.

Indeed, the aisles are wide, the lighting bright and self-service weights and measures combined with self-checkout should make for quick and easy grocery runs.

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  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (ROOMS)

As we toured the store, Rojas pointed out the company’s 365 Everyday Value brands that line the shelves, items that meet Whole Foods standards and are friendly priced. Rojas further touts specialty items appealing to the health conscious such as Beyond Meat‘s vegan Beyond Sausage; organic, non-dairy frozen treats from Austin-based Nada Moo!; and Vermont Creamery’s Minimont artisanal cheese created exclusively for Whole Foods 365.

In fact, the store offers more than 75 types of cheese, evidence that no corners have been cut, no needs will go wanting.

The convenience factor for busy homebodies and professionals is the guiding force behind the Grab & Go meals; the vast selection of pre-packaged marinated poultry, seafood and meats; the hot and cold salad bars; readymade sandwiches; pastas; wraps; breakfast tacos and more.

We shouldn’t confuse Whole Foods 365 with a narrowed version of the mother store. The location at 101 North Loop West is chock-a-block with everything from pet food to body care to wine and beer. It boasts 400 varieties of produce, more than 200 of those organic.

Add such novelties as frozen spiralized veggies, coconut flour, Korean-inspired gochujang products, and several dozen varieties of non-dairy milk products and you get the big picture.

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