Whole Foods Market opens in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood today. The more than 42,000-s.f. store at 1 N. Halsted is the third of seven Whole Foods stores slated to open in the Chicagoland area this year and the 22nd location in the Chicago market.
“We are thrilled to open a store in one of Chicago’s culinary centers,” says Jorge Trejo, store team leader for Whole Foods Market West Loop. “We’re so pleased to join one of Chicago’s most diverse, thriving and food-focused neighborhoods.”
The new Whole Foods features a variety of beverage and prepared food options as well as classic Whole Foods favorites for shoppers to choose from. These include Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods such as in-house Made Pita, Chicken Shawarma, Fresh-Fried Falafels, Tabbouleh, Fattoush, Hummus and Baba Ghanoush; customized Neapolitan-style individual pizzas; in-house smoked meats; fresh baklava from Atopolis; specialty tea from Rishi; a 24-tap bar with a variety of unique and hard-to-find beers; a “beer engine” featuring Begyle’s Hophazardly, a special to the store; a list of 25 different whiskeys and two specialty cocktails from mixologist and Chicago native Charles Joly.
Shoppers will be able to find Responsibly Grown Produce at the new store. Whole Foods recently launched a Responsibly Grown Produce rating system that uses scientific input to rate produce and flowers as “Good,” “Better” or “Best.” The scientific input assesses growing practices that impact human health and the environment.
Additionally, Whole Foods says its strict quality standards for food prohibits artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. Products on the shelves are evaluated on ingredients, but also ideology, philosophy, proper labeling and careful evaluation as part of a commitment made to customers to build a business with high standards that flow through all aspects of the company. These commitments include:
• Prepared foods: The prepared foods department’s grab-and-go meals and diverse food venues are all made with high-quality natural and organic ingredients.
• Meat: All beef, pork, chicken and turkey in the meat department comes from farms that have achieved certification in the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program.
• Seafood: The seafood counter has the highest quality standards for seafood in the business by working with scientists, fishermen, government agencies and environmental organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council to gather information about aquaculture and wild-capture fisheries, ensuring customers can make the best environmental choices when purchasing seafood.