Wholier-Than-Thou: Gigantic Food Porn Emporium Opens in the Castro

Categories: Castro, Opening

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Pete Kane
A lot of people have a real issue with Whole Foods, which has now opened its seventh San Francisco location at Market and Dolores. Crazy CEO, Whole Paycheck, gentrification and all that. This one's on the ground floor of a building that has become semi-notorious for housing a butterfly habitat so that the one percent may experience a sense of self-worth vis-a-vis an endangered species. The comments section of Castro Biscuit actually physically caught on fire. And yet...

It's probably best to treat Whole Foods like Christmas, for people who are grossed out by the commercialization of Christmas. As in, better make your peace with it now, because it's not going anywhere. More to the point, this new Whole Foods is freaking incredible: far more attractive than the other S.F. locations, considerably cheaper than Mollie Stone's, a thousand times more stimulating than Safeway, and, if you pick up at least some of your produce at a farmer's market like a proper California food snob, refreshingly reasonable in price. ($4.99 for a pound of Fuyu persimmons is somewhat outrageous, but at least Whole Foods runs sales. Does Trader Joe's ever run sales? No.) It's kind of a small produce section, too, considering the store itself is 28,000 square feet. You'd think that would be the focal point of the food-porn aesthetic.

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Pete Kane

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Pete Kane

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Pete Kane
You would be hard pressed not to find the right yogurt.

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Pete Kane
All scuffed up? You can actually get your shoes shined.

A lot of prepared foods are pricey, but the cold salad bar is $8.99/lb., the antipasti $9.99/lb., making a $10 lunch more than achievable. Bulk items are affordable, too (a pound of forbidden rice for $3.99) while $1.29 for 16 ounces of organic pasta is great. The massive, California-heavy beer selection includes Old Rasputin Imperial Stout ($8.99 for four 12-oz. bottles) and a six-pack of Anchor Christmas Ale (a bargain at $8.49), while the wines suggest pairings they way an independent video store's shelves might steer you to a beloved auteur director. Plus, there are those well-thought-out wow factors that would bring a Soviet housewife to tears, like an aisle end cap devoted entirely to kombucha, or a veritable wall of yogurt.

Whole Foods makes an effort to partner with San Francisco businesses, which is pretty admirable when you consider that a new Home Depot will deliberately cannibalize sales from another Home Depot if by doing so they can also destroy all non-Home Depot hardware stores in the area. There are rotisserie chickens from Mary's, and Nepalese food from Bini's Kitchen, which began via La Cocina. And of course you'll find familiar brands, like that Gorilla Munch cereal that liberals feed their children, and the Seventh Generation paper towels they use to clean up after them. The less said about the $25 shoe-shine station, the better, though.

When asked about her response to the haters, a sexy, tattooed associate was unapologetic. "Do I look like I drink the Kool-Aid? We brought a lot of jobs to the community." When pressed, she arched an eyebrow and said, "Look at that beer selection!"

Whole Foods Market, 2001 Market St., (415) 626-1430

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20 comments
Hans Jorgensen
Hans Jorgensen

As some people any business enterprises so should businesses not ever expand? Maybe these "I hate everything" people should shop so,emplacement else.

Kevin Kirby
Kevin Kirby

They could use a few more security guards.

Gary Dale Robertson
Gary Dale Robertson

Sure, they sell pints of organic coconut kefir for 16 dollars. There is some outrageous elitist products sold here. But they also sell organic food at affordable prices, especially the store brand.

Peter Rosos
Peter Rosos

"mmm ... fried shiitake mushroom cakes ..." *bites lower lip, calmly removes fedora and gently places it on the cabinet, heads for a cold shower*

Santoki Jennifer Anastasi
Santoki Jennifer Anastasi

co ops are hard to find in the bay--if you know any, please share!! ..it's better than safeway.. it is what it is, at least I know where to go when I want a bunch of goods in one place..I agree, of course you should support as many small business who have unique things and locally grown x, y, & z.

Mel Greene
Mel Greene

Overpriced garbage collector. Find a co-op or a farmer';s market instead.

Ian Sethre
Ian Sethre

Free-range organic fedoras or vegan fedoras?

Maurice Rivers
Maurice Rivers

I think it's good that the neighborhood has some competition with Safeway across the street, even though WF is very expensive and aimed at a certain clientele. All of the SF stores serve a different demographic according to the neighborhood they're in, so people complaining about the shoe shine stand and fedoras in the Castro location are sour grapes. If you don't like what a store sells or offers, DON'T SHOP THERE. Vote with your wallet.

Jesse Reyes
Jesse Reyes

Only assholes wear fedoras. True story.

Cr Tez
Cr Tez

Do they sell organic condoms? :D

Robert Scalzi
Robert Scalzi

No - I refuse to give that libertarian texas cretin any of my $$

deep510orphan
deep510orphan

@Michelle Woo Bowman WoW! Thats so cool! I've never heard that before. You must be so proud of yourself! So creative!


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