After so many months of playing with our hearts, the Whole Foods in Williamsburg finally opened its doors to all the not-so-starving artists of Brooklyn. As predicted, this Whole Foods has found a number of ways to cater to the eclectic taste of its local residents.
However, the honeymoon phase didn’t last long. While I’m elated by the variety of vegan sushi rolls and range of pretty produce, I have a few bones to pick. Allow me to attempt to identify and bring to the surface some of the market’s kinks.
The “Nitro Cold Brew” is just your average cup of joe.
When I first scoped out the coffee bar, my jaw nearly dropped when I noticed the nitrogen-infused cold brew on tap. Previously, this was a delicacy you could only find at Brooklyn Roasting Company, the boutique coffee brewers who invented the novelty process. In addition to the Nitro-brew, Whole Foods also offers a honey almond blend, giving the Bluebottle signature “New Orleans” a run for its money.
Suddenly, about a week ago, the dairy-free foamy treat lost its froth. At first, I let it go. I pretended not to notice that the lack of lush creaminess in the clear plastic cup that the barista handed me. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, and carried on with my day. I even second-guessed if I somehow ordered wrong. The nitro tap dispenser must be malfunctioning, since the iced coffee I’ve been given lately has just been basic. Unfortunately, after a few more visits, my eyes and taste buds couldn’t be fooled any longer– I was being played. Even though signs are still advertising a nitrogen infusion, I refuse to drink a lie.
Three very confusingly located lines make check-out your worst nightmare.
With just three lines available to proceed to checkout, I’ve never had to wait quite so long to pay my Whole Paycheck. The new Whole Foods doesn’t segregate between express shoppers and those with 15+ items. The experience is like waiting in line for a ride at Disney World on a Saturday afternoon during Labor Day Weekend. To make a bad situation worse, the escalators block the lines from forming in a civilized fashion. Meanwhile, a whole other line is forming downstairs, at the bottom of the escalator. Take the Trader Joe’s Union Square line and put it in a basement. From the top, I peer down and see desperate eyes with carts staring back wondering how and when they will ever make it back to the ground floor.Luckily, I hacked the living daylights out of this one. While employees will make you think there is no other way up, you can avoid the escalator altogether by taking the “secret” elevator next to the pre-spiralized veggies. It’s a lonely ride, but gets you to the registers in seconds.
The Case of the Mysteriously Vanishing Exotic Fruit
Smack dab in the middle of the produce section, I found what I believed to be the answer to all my produce prayers: The Rare & Exotic Fruits section. It may as well have been Whole Foods School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, from the eyes of someone slightly obsessed with exotic fruit. I almost passed out when I saw the larger than life, king-of-jackfruits summoning me to sweep him off his cardboard throne, and take him home with me. The trouble was that he weighed just as much as I did, so I decided to settle for an Instagram photo and come back later for the fruit. But when I came back, he was GONE.
In the past few weeks, I’ve replayed the sequence of events regarding my loss over and over. Now, when I pass through the rare fruits section, the rows of pineapples and melons remind me of what I can’t have. They don’t give me that exotic fruit fix that I crave. I’m starting to think Whole Foods only put that regal fruit out on display for the store’s opening. But for me, the long lost jackfruit will always be the one that got away.
You’ll never guess where they put the bar.
I was looking for the talked up micro-brew bar. I was told to take the escalator downstairs, walk past the organic produce, and continue through the fine cheese section. There, in the deep underbelly of Whole Foods Williamsburg, they promised I would find the bar. I merely wanted a beer, but what I found was much, much more…
The view was extraordinary, and terrifying. As we sipped our local hoppy micros, dead hanging pigs and sliced-up carcasses illuminated before us, as if we are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I was grateful that the butcher was behind glass, shielding me from any kind of residual blood splatter, as she animatedly carved the animal bodies right before my very eyes. I took another sip of my beer. Maybe dead hanging pigs aren’t my thing.
Suddenly, I had an earth-shattering craving for one of the gourmet veggie burgers. The slaughterhouse wasn’t enough to cancel out all the top-notch vegan cuisine offered in the to-go section upstairs. But, it was so far away… What about the line? Do I take the elevator? How do I get out of here? The horror!
While the new Whole Foods has some work to do, I believe it has potential. At the end of the day, they offer the most affordable produce in the hood, and an unbending commitment to local and organic products. Things are a little weird right now, but I have faith that if I keep believing in them one day I’m gonna walk in there and be reunited with my long lost Jackfruit, and we fly away into the sunset.