When we moved to Florida as a kid, we finally settled in North Pinellas County, and so growing up I frequented the Countryside Mall a lot in those middle school, and early high school years [p.s. do kids still hang at the mall on weekends? Or is that like totally lame, nowadays?]. Fast forward fifteen years [I didn’t think turning thirty made me old, but that last sentence sure made me sound it. I digress] and Countryside Mall has more than refreshed itself for a modern clientele. Things like this make my heart happy, as I love seeing my old stomping grounds thrive, so many years later.
As you know this year, Jason and I completed our first Whole 30 Challenge. In doing so, I discovered the Whole Foods Market [WFM] in Tampa. I fell in love with their selections, fresh food bars, and friendly staff.
So when I was invited to a sneak peek of the new Clearwater location at the Countryside Mall, I knew I would have to attend! It seems like each Whole Foods I visit has something different to offer, and lucky for me I am just about equal parts from the Tampa locale, and the newest Clearwater store. Ohhhh, the tough decisions in life I will have to make. #firstworldproblems, much?
The Clearwater Whole Foods is on the first floor where Sears once was, and makes for a huge store! I was instantly drawn to the prepared foods area serving hot foods, international foods, and salad bar. This particular Whole Foods will have an organic salad bar, as well as a completely separate, non-organic salad bar. I also can’t wait to check out the rotisserie bar with chicken, sides, and something I have never had the pleasure of tasting – rotisserie pork [I have a feeling I’ll be changing that in the very near future].
We were fortunate enough to sample a slice of pizza from their Pizza Bar; thin, rustic and made with San Marzano Tomatoes. I mean when you think about getting a slice of pizza at your grocery store, this is not the pizza you think of. This is quality, and convenient [and really, really good!].
I think my favorite of all the bars was the Greek, She’s a Super Greek, bar. Though, if you have been around these parts long enough, my undying love for all things Greek is not really a big surprise, is it?
After a few delicious bites of pizza, salad, and fries, it was time to move on to beer, and cheese. I don’t even know where to begin. I love cheese. I love beer. I adore the idea of enjoying cheese, and beer (or wine) before I shop! Or maybe just instead of shopping. The fact that local craft beers are on tap please me like you don’t even know [p.s. WFM works with local suppliers whenever possible, and they indicate this for you with specific tabs].
They also offer specials that are poppin’ and hoppin’ that I know would entice my husband to make a grocery trip with me, more often, at the Beer, Wine, and Bites Bar.
I like that Whole Foods offers organic items, as well as non, at reasonable prices. I know there are going to be people out there that will argue that last statement with me. But I have compared organic and non to local grocers, and there isn’t much difference. For the quality you receive, and the service, I think experiencing Whole Foods is worth it. I like their line of 365 Everday Value products [I buy their olive oil, canned veggies, spices, and coconut milk] as a way to save a bit.
They have some awesome grand-opening specials, so make sure to check them out and see for yourself! There is also a tour available Tuesday, September 30, from 10am-11am [make sure to double check with their customer service].
The Clearwater Whole Foods Market opens this Wednesday at 9am. The first 500 people will receive a gift card ranging anywhere from $5-$500, so plan to wait in line if you are interested! Be sure to at least arrive by 9am to view their Breaking Bread Ceremony to celebrate the opening of this new store.
Whole Foods Clearwater will be offering a ton of fun upcoming classes, and you can view them here .
Welcome to Clearwater, Whole Foods. I think we’re going to get along just fine.
Have you been to a Whole Foods Market before? What is your favorite department to visit?