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Whole Foods sweetens urban appeal with new Manhattan, D.C. stores

The past two weeks have seen Whole Foods Market open new stores in two major markets: New York City and Washington, D.C.

On July 17, Whole Foods opened the doors to its 14th New York City location, a 60,245 square-foot store next to Manhattan’s 5.4 million-square-foot Hudson Yards multi-use development. And less than a week later, on July 23, the Austin, Texas-based specialty grocer opened a 46,000-square-foot store near Howard University in the D.C. neighborhood of Pleasant Plains.

Located at 450 W. 33rd St. on Manhattan’s West Side, the multi-level New York City store serves up a big prepared foods section with an array of grab-and-go offerings, including sushi, organic rotisserie chicken, salad, soup, stir fry and pizza. More than 500 products throughout the store — including the produce, seafood and meat departments — come from about 200 local suppliers, many of which are new to Whole Foods. The specialty foods section includes ready-to-eat cheese boards plus a selection of more than 50 local cheeses overseen by an in-store American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional, who also can provide recommendations.

Friends of Whole Foods Market eatery venues at the store include Jajaja (vegan Mexican cuisine), Matchaful (matcha lattes), Café Grumpy (coffee) and Sunscoop (plant-based ice cream). The beer and wine area offers more than 400 beers, including 150 craft beers from local producers such as Three’s Brewing, as well as the Brewery Fresh Bar, which serves limited-release beers, local craft brews, wine, kombucha and ciders, all in cans. A cocktail bar called West Side Corner serves signature cocktails to go.

Because of its location in a major pedestrian plaza, the Manhattan West Whole Foods also houses a convenience market at the street level for customers seeking a quick shopping trip without having to navigate the full store. The market offers grab-and-go meal and snack options, baked goods, desserts and cold beverages.

The new D.C. store, situated at 967 Florida Avenue NW, has a PLNT Burger fast-casual restaurant, which serves plant-based burgers, sandwiches, salad and sides, as well as snacks and frozen desserts. The produce department offers fresh fruit and vegetable selections from local growers such as Gotham Greens and Bowery Farms, which have greenhouses in the metro D.C. area.

A full-service butcher shop features grass-fed and dry-aged beef, made-in-house sausages and locally sourced options from Stoney Point and Green Hill Farms. The seafood counter serves up fresh and frozen seafood, store-made salmon burgers and lobster rolls, and local options like smoked fish from Ivy City Smokehouse, blue crab meat from JM Clayton and fresh fish from George’s Seafood. Other local suppliers to the store include FireFly Farms and Meadow Creek Dairy, which provides ready-to-eat cheeses overseen by in-store cheese mongers who can offer expertise and recommendations.

Customers of the Florida Avenue store also will find more than 400 wines, including options from about 40 local wine producers, such as Old Westminster Winery and Early Mountain Winery, and more than 300 beers, including offerings from local breweries like Right Proper Brewing and Atlas Brew Works.

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