OyChicago blog

Not just a grocery store

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09/21/2011

Not just a grocery store photo 

My initial thoughts about this month’s Oy! post weren’t gelling the way I had hoped, so I asked my friend Heather what I should write about. She said, “Whole Foods isn’t just a grocery store.” She is so right.

I live five minutes from the large Lincoln Park Whole Foods store. Hands down, this was the biggest bonus of moving into the neighborhood. The massive made-to-order foods section is always a convenient dinner option, giving me a great excuse to rarely cook, and the store offers so much more than simply groceries. There’s Tuesday Trivia night; the pub and wine bar; cooking classes; and I even saw a flier for yoga classes. 

This is not an ad for the LP Whole Foods, but admittedly, it is not the ordinary grocery store, or even the ordinary WF. Aside from all of its bells and whistles, my favorite aspect of WF is the way it brings people together. I know that statement sounds zany, especially for a store that simply sells overpriced natural foods and products, but it’s true. People socialize, go on dates, and shop there (not only for food, but for gifts, beauty products, and even Halloween costumes). I can’t think of another place that offers the same variety of experience and convenience.

My girlfriends and I have been frequenting WF for some time now, but about a month ago, we decided to make our visits a regular weekly occurrence, so we never go a week without catching up. WF has now become our version of the coffee shops on Seinfeld and Sex and the City. We choose from a variety of food genres at an affordable cost, we streamline our dinner plans with our grocery shopping, and there’s fantastic people watching, especially from a sneaky bird’s eye view on the mezzanine level. After a long day, WF is exactly what we have found we need. Yesterday, although stressed with busy season and tired from the already long week, I looked forward to convening at WF for some good food and conversation. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly makes it the perfect venue for that. We could have met anywhere – at one of our apartments or perhaps at Rockit, another one of our favorites, for some yummy truffle fries – but it probably would not have been the same. Our little cohort is not alone. The store continuously buzzes with singles, couples, moms and dads with their kids, and people from a variety of age brackets and cultures.

In life, especially in a big and busy city, we need something dependable, that we can always count on, even when everything else gets crazy. WF, certainly not just a grocery store, serves that purpose, and I’m grateful it’s just a five-minute walk away.

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