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Whole Foods in Orange Village: What to expect, what’s unique

September 18, 2018

Whole Foods in Orange Village: What to expect, what’s unique

ORANGE VILLAGE, Ohio – Whole Foods in Orange Village actually is more like a store in a restaurant.

Its emphasis lies with prepared foods, and that doesn’t mean a few wrapped sandwiches here and there.

“Prepared foods is the shining star,” said Nichole Clark, store team leader who began working with the company as a cook in 2007.

The store – which opened Aug. 29 at 50 Wall St., in the Pinecrest development - is just a bit less than 50,000 square feet compared to its former location on Chagrin Boulevard.

The salad and hot bars are the top sellers, she said.

This is one of four Northeast Ohio Whole Foods, with others in Rocky River, University Heights and Akron.

Here is what to expect at the recently opened Orange Village location:

Public Pint

The full bar, in a front corner, has an 11-seat bar, a partially covered patio (with Jenga), multiple televisions inside and out, communal tables and 16 taps – all Ohio beers. Wine, cocktails and food are available, and you can get a pint or flight paddle of beer. It’s not the first grocery store to have a bar – Market Districts have done a good job with this concept – but this one is worth stopping after, or in lieu of, shopping. Happy hour is 4-6 p.m. Monday to Thursday with a buck off pub drinks.

Self-serve options

It wasn’t that long ago when grocery stores implemented self-serve checkout. At Whole Foods, the concept applies to ready-to-eat meals including pizza and stromboli. There’s also organic acai bowls. It comes out with the consistency of ice cream, and you add toppings. It’s $10.99 per pound. Clark said it makes for a healthy dessert or breakfast smoothie.

In the house!

Many of the items sold at Whole Foods are made in house. Overnight bakers work at the Orange Village location. Sausage is made on site. Garlic bread is baked and wrapped at the store. The store also operates three smokers, allowing for black truffle smoked scallops and other items to be prepared and sold.

What you won’t get

Whole Foods does not allow artificial colors, preservatives or additives. The company screens for about 250 ingredients. If a local supplier makes something with an ingredient on the non-carry list, Whole Foods will ask if it can be subbed out.

Numbers game

About 150 local suppliers have items in the store, which contains more than 20,000 items – about 2,500 of which are organic.

13 unique items

• Mo what? Mochi and French Macarons are $2. Mochi is hand-held Japanese ice cream. Each disk-like treat contains chewy rice dough on the outside and ice cream on the inside. Daily deal: Buy five, get one free. It comes in several flavors.

• Mousse pops: Push pops get elevated a bit here with these layers of cake and mousse.

• Salad in a cup: Healthier grab-and-go option from St. Paris, near Dayton.

• Ramen bar: Four types of ramen are offered.

• Build-your-own avocado toast: Allows you to pull from an extensive salad bar.

• Bread-slicing machine: Buy a fresh loaf, drop it in the slicer, and in seconds it’s divvied up. Many types of bread are offered, including loaves made from Platform Beer Co. spent grain.

• Pick-your-pie: Pie in a cup from Mayfield Heights has turned out to be “hugely popular,” Clark said. “We can’t keep the shelves full.” It’s $4.99 for a 9.5-ounce cup of pie with crust or cream topping.

• Wine-tasting station: Tasting stations like this often are available weekends only. Here, an average of two wines and a beer will be served for sampling and changed out every day or couple of days, we’re told. (More than 550 wines are sold and shelved near the tasting bar.)

• Cheese shop: If you want a taste, a cheesemonger on site will offer up a nibble and an explanation.

• Speaking of cheese: Mackenzie Creamery in Hiram makes an orange vanilla chevre – the orange for Orange Village.

• Pasta bar: Multiple types of uncooked pasta are available, from ravioli to gnocchi, at $7.99 per pound.

• Origin tags: Some of the fish on ice have bright green tags that show the fish’s origin. “All of our seafood and meat you can trace where it was caught, harvested and raised,” Clark said.

• Self-serve juice machine: Orange is available, with grapefruit coming soon, in both organic and conventional. “Kids like it,” Clark said. “You can see the oranges come down, and the smell is great.”

Finally: Bulk to beer

Two things to note:

Bulk spices like turmeric – which were sold in the Chagrin Boulevard location - are not available, though the store is considering including them in the future.

Also, the craft-beer selection is spread throughout the store. This would be better organized by being contained in one location like wine or any other grocery item.

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