Surprisingly, even Whole Foods isn’t doing that one yet.
But the new store does have a big innovation. And it isn’t a food offering—it’s what you can drink with that food. This Whole Foods holds a Class C liquor license, so you’ll be able to order your sushi / thin-crust pizza / smoked brisket, buy a bottle of wine, and enjoy them together in the cafe. Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. is happy hour, with wine tastings and light appetizers. Sake will be available at the sushi bar. Once again, a high-end grocery store has found a place to go where no other store has gone—in this case, stepping right onto the toes of the city’s sit-down restaurants.
The liquor license is the big ta-da, but Kate Klotz, Whole Foods’ Midwest spokesperson, ticks off a number of other attractions: increased wine and cheese selections, a baby department (food, clothes, and care items all pulled together in one section), smokehouseside seating.
The question on everyone’s mind is whether the west side of Ann Arbor can handle another high-end grocery store. These Whole Foods stores are big ships to turn around: the company applied for the Class C liquor license four years ago, says Klotz. The small craft—Fresh Seasons and the original Arbor Farms—got to the west side first, followed by the progressively larger and even more tricked-out new Arbor Farms and Plum Market. Whole Foods arrives like the Queen Mary 2 docking in a busy harbor. Good Lord, isn’t our little marina full yet?