Whole Foods Lincoln park....

Often when we are travelling we like to check-out the local grocery store, after all Miss B is a nutritionist.  It also fits with our motto "when in Chicago, do as the locals do" which includes grocery shopping.  One evening, after a few days in Chicago's northside we found a brand new Whole Foods and thought lets check it out. Maybe grab a snack and head to our room. WOW!  

First off the place had great "street vibe" as there is pub at the entrance offering over 20 craft beers on tap. Later I found out you can grab a beer and then go shopping, not the other way around.  How civilized?  

There was also a community table at the entrance where several people we busy on their laptops pecking away ear phones in place i.e. they were each in their own little world. You could have been in a cafe in anyplace in the world. In fact part of the the area was designed as a tiki hut with grass roof.  We also learned that all of the furniture had be purchased at local thrift stores as a part of their commitment to the environment.  Miss B, the thrift store queen, loved it! 

We wandered the store a bit and Miss B found the wine bar and saddled up for a drink? To our pleasant surprise there were offering a flight of wines for sampling.  We didn't realize how hungry we were and so we ordered the charcuterie plate and a cheese platter and sat back and enjoyed the show.  

It was interesting to watch as others saddled up to the wine bar, it really was a community hangout.  Some actually just grabbed a bottle of wine from the wine section of the store and brought it over with them had it opened and enjoyed a glass or two and then took the rest home. How civilized? 

We then noticed some people bringing whole meals to the tables behind the wine bar and realized you purchase your food elsewhere in the store and bring it over to enjoy your dinner with a fine wine.   

The "whole" experience was very enjoyable.

 

The wine bar at Whole Foods store Lincoln Park, Chicago.  There was a nice ambience, even though it was in the middle of a grocery store.  There was great people watching not only at the bar but in the yogurt section as one lady had to climb up on the coolers to check out product at the top, almost falling in as she did so.  

Welcome to Whole Foods in Chicago's Lincoln Park. This is the pub at the entrance to the store.  How welcoming is that?  They even invited the community to come and watch the NHL and NBA playoff games at the pub.  Lots of local craft beers for $4.  

I found out this is the second largest Whole Foods in the chain.  It has several themed restaurants in the store including this '50s style diner. 

I found out this is the second largest Whole Foods in the chain.  It has several themed restaurants in the store including this '50s style diner. 

Don't like diner food, then there is a Smoke House, or Pizza Shop etc. 

Don't like diner food, then there is a Smoke House, or Pizza Shop etc. 

The store is impressive at night.  What you don't realize is that the top of the store is a parking garage.  There area over 400 parking stalls including a small surface lot next door.  Chicago has lots of above ground parked, which are well designed, don't harm the streetscape and cost half the price of underground parking. Good way to balance costs with good urban design.  There are patio table on the street to further enhance the pedestrian friendliness of the street.   

The store is impressive at night.  What you don't realize is that the top of the store is a parking garage.  There area over 400 parking stalls including a small surface lot next door.  Chicago has lots of above ground parked, which are well designed, don't harm the streetscape and cost half the price of underground parking. Good way to balance costs with good urban design.  There are patio table on the street to further enhance the pedestrian friendliness of the street.   

Note: It would be great if Calgary's Eau Claire Market could be converted into a Whole Foods store.  This is exactly what is needed to make this area take-off as a mixed office residential district.  Ideally the streets would be full of town homes and midrise condos with great staircases like those in my blog "stairways to heaven."