Whole Foods Market (300 N. Broad St.. Suite 103., 504-434-3364; www.wholefoodsmarket.com) at the intersection of Broad and Bienville streets opened Feb. 4. Whole Foods community relations director Kristina Bradford says about 10,000 people visited the store in its opening week.
The base of the gumbo sold in the gumbo bar, which will include both vegetarian and traditional sausage options, is made by New Orleans youth at Liberty's Kitchen, which shares building space with the new grocery store. Liberty's Kitchen will source 100 percent of its ingredients from Whole Foods, and, in addition to the gumbo bases, salad dressings and eight varieties of cookies for the grocery store will be made by at-risk youth involved in the culinary program. While most Whole Foods stores have a full coffee bar, this one will relegate coffee duties to Liberty's Kitchen, giving it an additional source of revenue (though Whole Foods will serve basic drip coffees).
Tulane's Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, which will open in March across the atrium from Whole Foods, will teach members of the community how to cook healthy recipes within a budget, complete with a shopping list to recreate the dishes at home. Bradford says the store will also host value shopping tours to educate shoppers on how to stretch dollars.
The store is smaller than the Whole Foods locations on Arabella Street and Veterans Memorial Boulevard, and it features an emphasis on locally sourced goods. Most of the breads, for example, come from Breads on Oak, and Laurel Street Bakery provides bagels. The store hosted workshops for local businesses to adapt their goods to sell on Whole Foods shelves, and in-store graphics and murals were done by local artists and designers.