If you ask most women where they love to shop, they will probably tell you they love to shop at shoe stores or glamorous boutiques. On the other hand, I prefer to shop at grocery stores. When I lived in New York, there was an organic produce and gourmet grocery store across the street from my building and not only did the owners know me by name, but I had credit at the store and some of the cashiers had my frequent purchases memorized.
Though I am still an avid proponent of shopping at local, neighborhood markets when possible, I can’t deny the love affair I’ve shared for the past three years with the Whole Foods on Kingsbury in Lincoln Park.
The sprawling store not only boasts the comforts of a typical grocery – produce, meat counter, dairy section, bakery, endless aisle after aisle of overpriced packaged foods – but it has a cozy coffee shop, sports bar, wine bar and a food court that reflects the ethnic cuisine famous throughout Chicago’s various neighborhoods.
Although there are many reasons why I would gladly and willingly move my bedroom furniture into the store and live there, three reasons in particular keep me returning (although it is worth a mention the free WiFi times out after only two hours, but because the pros far outweigh the cons, I’m keeping my grievances to myself here).
Whole Foods Lincoln Park Wellness Club: In a grocery store that spans over 75,000 square feet, it’s not hard to want to make a beeline for the bakery and pull up a chair. The club, as one of five pilot locations throughout the country, provides an inviting environment to empower members to make educated and positive health choices through a lifestyle evaluation, nutrition education, skill-building classes, a supportive community and discounts on select healthier foods. Life is all about balance and any food store willing to offer customers resources to improve their lifestyle versus a quick fix, is A-OK in my book.
1550 and Da’Vine Wine Bar: We would never endorse drinking and driving — unless you’re talking about driving a shopping cart. As the third largest Whole Foods in the country, the Lincoln Park store offers 1550, a sports-style bar with seven local and regional beers on tap as well as a flat screen TV for checking the score in between buying your milk and your eggs. If you prefer to sip while you shop, Da’Vine Wine & Cheese Bar is a spacious cafe in the center of the store where you can grab a glass to-go…or sit down and enjoy a toast to the next sale on organic tomatoes.
The Epic Prepared Foods Section: When I’m craving the convenience of takeout, I try to stick to healthier (read: not greasy, fried or otherwise overly fattening) options. At most grocery stores, those options are limited to sad salads and cold cuts. In the Lincoln Park Whole Foods prepared food section, choose from picking up your breakfast, lunch or dinner at a deli, Mexican restaurant/taco counter, burger joint, home-style diner, pizza joint, BBQ shack, sushi and seafood bar, salad bar, sandwich bar, olive bar or Chinese take-out counter. Great option for when your family or roommates can’t agree on one type of cuisine…or for when you’re craving a salad…with a side of fries.
Lincoln Park Whole Foods, 1550 N. Kingsbury Street. For more information call 312-587-0648 or visit the website.
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