Whole Foods opens its second San Antonio store Tuesday, and it has plenty of features to entice shoppers. The market is in the Vineyard Shopping Center at 18403 Blanco Road, just north of Loop 1604.
Fresh and frequently organic produce, just-harvested seafood, hormone-free meats and poultry, an excellent cheese section and a bustling wine department are all part of Whole Foods stores and are to be expected here. But there will be differences. Next to the produce section will be the bulk foods, including plenty of raw and heirloom items as well as machines that grind almonds, peanuts and more into nut butters.
The grocery section features numerous gluten-free, raw and vegan items, while the prepared foods section features rotisserie chickens that are both organic and conventionally raised, charcuterie, freshly made pizzas that you can bake at home, and a salad bar with organic items. There will also be stations featuring smoked meats, breakfast tacos, customized sandwiches, pizzas and calzones, sushi, hot soups, a hot bar, smoothies and manually prepared coffee drinks, and the grocery chain’s first flour tortilla maker.
You won’t find anything like Bar Blanco in other local groceries. It features six Texas beers and six wines on tap, and you can enjoy a glass while you shop or wait for your food order to be ready. You can also get a growler of your favorite to take home. From 1 to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, growlers are half off.
In the center of the store is an information center that will help you if you are just stumped about how to prepare a food you’d like to try or if you need help in making meals suited to specific diets, such as diabetic-friendly or gluten-free dishes. You just print out a recipe and then shop for the all of the ingredients, so you can fix it at home.
Plus, the folks in the seafood and meat departments will prepare what you want to go.
Don’t have the time to do your shopping? The store’s concierge department will do your shopping for you. Just call in your list, concierge Katie Coyle says, and your items will be packaged and ready to go when you arrive after work or whenever you need them. You can also develop an on-going relationship with the shoppers, so they know the types of food that you prefer and can even let you know of new items or specials. There is an extra charge involved, but how much is your convenience worth?
Finish off with a treat or two from the artisan cookie bar, which is certain to be popular over the approaching holiday season.
Can’t find anything or don’t understand how to use something? Just ask, says Glen Ebner, the store’s manager. The staff will be glad to get you answers.
The store’s regular hours will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily with the coffee bar, smoothies and breakfast tacos available after 7 a.m. The opening day ceremony will be at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. For more information, call (210) 408-3110.