Whole Foods Charlotte

in All Posts

I’ll make fun of myself before anyone else can – I participated in the yuppiest of all yuppie activities tonight.  I went on a pre-opening tour of the new Whole Foods Charlotte. 


The tours ran all weekend and were open to the general public.  All that was required was a $5 donation to a wonderful organization called Friendship Gardens.  From their website:


Friendship Gardens is an expanding network of community, school, faith-based, institutional, public, private, and backyard gardens. Most of our garden partnerships share their harvest for the benefit of Friendship Trays who provide over 750 meals a day to members of our community who have limited access to healthy food.


Basically, Friendship Gardens partners with Meals on Wheels to deliver locally grown produce to housebound and low-income individuals.  I love how so many of the gardens are located right near Uptown!


Back to Whole Foods…


So, when we moved to Charlotte, we heard whispers that a Whole Foods would be opening in the next few years.  We were excited because, obviously, as far as grocery stores go, Whole Foods is pretty awesome.  But I never could’ve imagined that Whole Foods Charlotte would be THIS amazing.  I know it’s ‘just’ a grocery store, but this grocery store has cooking classes, a wine bar, a beer tasting room, an on-staff nutritionist to advise shoppers, and more.


The store opens on Wednesday (if you’re local, they’re offering free breakfast at 8:30 AM in the parking lot!), so the aisles were still under construction.


We went through each department and listened to a specialist talk about the mission of Whole Foods.


Fun facts about Whole Foods:


  • They maintain strict ingredient standards for every product on the shelves.  No artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.  No trans fat. 
  • Animal products sold in the stores were never treated with growth hormones or antibiotics or fed animal by-products.
  • They make an effort to promote good animal welfare practices.  Whole Foods labels many of their meat products using the 5-Step Animal Welfare Standards.  At a minimum, animals must not be kept in crates or cages (Step 1).  Some of the animal products are Step 5+, which means the well-being of the animals is the primary focus of the farm and efficiency and economy are secondary – the animals must be born and spend their entire lives on one farm.
  • Whole Foods refuses to sell Code Red seafood (as according to Blue Ocean).  Code Red means that the fish species is suffering from overfishing or current fishing methods harm other marine life or habits.
  • They try to sell lots of local produce – the produce section was totally empty because local farmers still had to bring in their food!


Sure, Whole Foods is a corporate giant and it’s not always perfect, but it’s pretty awesome in many, many important ways.

IMG_1242 IMG_1243

Our tour included lots of food samples, of course.


IMG_1240 IMG_1250


While the cupcakes were tempting, some of us simply focused on eating our hands. 


Henry has discovered that his hands are mighty tasty.


What I’m most excited about…


#1:  The bulk food section is ENORMOUS.  And they have liquids in bulk – like olive oil!


#2:  There is a wine and beer tasting area that seems like a separate pub, not part of a grocery store.  Is it sad that I can envision hanging out here on a Friday night?  Wait.  Please don’t answer that.


Of course – #3:  THE HOT BAR.  The magnificent and amazing hot bar.


I think my brother-in-law summed it up pretty perfectly when he said, “I never thought I’d be excited for a grocery store to open, let alone go on a grocery store tour, but THAT WAS AWESOME.”  Hah.  Whole Foods lovers, unite!



  • Jackie August 26, 2012, 9:02 pm

    Ahh I love Whole Foods! They just opened up a new location near me that is exactly like this one, and I must say, the bulk section is AMAZING. I just stopped by the other day and stocked up on agave, local honey, olive oil, liquid aminos, and tons of beans and flours all in bulk! So cool! Also, my bulk section has a grinder so you can make your own flours out of grains from the bulk section, which is so fun. Enjoy! 🙂

  • luv what you do August 26, 2012, 9:06 pm

    oh my gosh…i love whole foods!!!
    That one looks beautiful!

  • Jessica @ New Girl, New City August 26, 2012, 9:16 pm

    I just moved to the Charlotte area and I’m missing my Whole Foods back home. I had NO idea that there was one coming here. You just MADE MY DAY!

  • Lee August 26, 2012, 9:16 pm

    Nice Whole Foods. There’s a big one near my office but I don’t think it has a pub area. That’s pretty cool.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) August 26, 2012, 9:19 pm

    I am such grocery store and farmer’s market dork. I love going to them in different cities too! It’s part of my city tours! I would be excited too about a Whole Foods!

  • Nicole August 26, 2012, 9:20 pm

    Henry looks very excited for the opening of Whole Foods.

  • Caryln @ carylnrambles August 26, 2012, 9:23 pm

    ohhh i want to check that whole foods out! we have one here in winston salem, but now i kind of want to make a little trip to charlotte to see this one! (that sounds crazy)

  • Julianna @ Julianna Bananna August 26, 2012, 9:26 pm

    i LOVE whole foods so much. especially their salad bar and their made-to-order burritos and sandwiches! i also love the bulk bins section and that they carry my favorite almond butter!

  • Priyanka August 26, 2012, 9:27 pm

    My son loves to stuff his hands in his mouth too. Its crazy but its so cute!!

  • Nikki August 26, 2012, 9:28 pm

    When our WF here in Boulder was revamped to include a large seating area and even more hot food options my husband and I were both a little embarrassed that we’d “go out to dinner” at Whole Foods. But, um, then we got over it because it’s so good:-)

  • Holly P. @ A Year in Wichita August 26, 2012, 9:33 pm

    I am so jealous of that gorgeous store. We aren’t so lucky here Wichita, KS. Looks amazing! Also…CONGRATS on your completing your tri the other day! So awesome and motivational!

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 26, 2012, 9:39 pm

    I have yet to go to Whole Foods…it’s kind of become my mission!

  • Dani @ Dani, Redesigned August 26, 2012, 9:42 pm

    Love Whole Foods, but since I live below Fort Mill and Rock Hill, we have an Earth Fare. I am absolutely and utterly in LOVE with Earth Fare. Everything from their groceries to hot food bar and beer and wine selections, I just can’t get enough. Believe it or not, I gained almost ten pounds during the six months I worked next door to one!

  • Stephanie August 26, 2012, 9:53 pm

    This Whole Foods location looks awesome! You are so lucky to have a fresh, brand new store starting Wednesday. I need to take better advantage of the store right across the gym, but it’s usually still closed in the mornings after my spin class!

  • Jolene (Homespun Heritage) August 26, 2012, 10:00 pm

    Jealous. Yup. Jealous. I live in Michigan (which I LOVE!) and we don’t have a Trader Joes nearby, let alone a Whole Foods. Our local health food store tries but its so small they just can’t come close! Anyway, I look forward to visiting one while off on vacation sometime!

  • Janelle August 26, 2012, 10:04 pm

    I totally meet friends for wine at Whole Foods after work. No shame! And, then I can conveniently pick up groceries for the week. Win-win!

  • Rachel August 26, 2012, 10:05 pm

    I wanted to go to this, but couldn’t make it….so glad you posted about it! I cannot wait to check out the store soon!

  • Christine @ BookishlyB August 26, 2012, 10:10 pm

    So you’re getting another job/project to pay for your increase in groceries, right? 😉 I am SO SO SO glad there isn’t one near me because I would go broke. So much cool stuff. The last time I went it I spent twenty minute in the vitamin/supplement aisle alone.

    • Chris August 28, 2012, 12:46 pm

      Make sure to check out their Whole Deal Book with coupons for the whole MONTH! Also, their 365 Brand will help you save lots of money on everyday staples. $5.99 for 32oz of high quality Olive Oil can’t be beat! Plus, bulk saves you lots of money too!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats August 26, 2012, 10:19 pm

    I loooooove Whole Foods! Haha ours is designed to hang out in on a Friday night, there’s a bar AND a separate wine bar!

    • LJ August 26, 2012, 10:23 pm

      The Charlotte store will also have a separate wine bar in addition to the beer area- the tasting loft!

  • LJ August 26, 2012, 10:22 pm

    I just got home from our last Whole Foods Charlotte pre-opening meeting and saw this, how cool! I’m a team member in the Whole Body section and I’ve been trying to spread the word like wildfire so that the Charlotte store opening will be record-breaking. Apparently, if this store does well, Charlotte is looking at getting 2-4 more stores. We are already being called the flagship store of the south region so I think the grand opening is going to be pretty epic- can’t wait!

  • KatieTX August 26, 2012, 10:25 pm

    I have hung out at the whole foods bar ( served beer and wine) on a Friday night. It’s really nice and chill!

  • J August 26, 2012, 10:27 pm

    I have a hard time figuring out how I feel about Whole Foods. On the one hand, I love fancy grocery stores, but on the other hand, the CEO is a libertarian nut job and I’m not sure I like the co-opting of the loganic movement by big business.

  • Laura August 26, 2012, 10:42 pm

    I LOVE Whole Foods, even if some very ill-planned trips have ended up living up to the nickname “Whole Paycheck” for me 🙂

    • Jaclyn @ JustJac! August 27, 2012, 5:22 am

      Whole Paycheck is my demiiiiiiiiiise 😛

  • Katya August 26, 2012, 11:09 pm

    wow, I wish my small town had a supermarket like this! wishful thinking most likely. Enjoy!

  • Melissa Q August 26, 2012, 11:49 pm

    The newest San Francisco location opens right around the corner from me on Wednesday too! Didn’t see any events for the weekend though. Bummer cuz yours looked like fun!

  • Chelsea August 27, 2012, 12:09 am

    I went to Central Market for the first time today and was like in awee

  • Bama, Bama + Ry Jewelry August 27, 2012, 12:32 am

    I want to add to your list that Whole Foods staff are some of the most knowledgeable grocery store people I’ve ever met in life. Ask them anything about the food and they’ll know it. It’s incredible.

  • Melissa August 27, 2012, 12:36 am

    Don’t feel bad, I have had date night at Whole Foods before. It’s pretty awesome! Their sushi it SO good! Also, there is usually a chef on site so they can make you whatever you want since most pre-made sushi has meat in it, they can tailor it to your needs. Once the store is open, you should try High Road Ice cream, they are a local company here in Atlanta and the ice cream is the best I’ve ever had. Hopefully they will be partnering with your location as well, so keep an eye out for it 🙂

    • LJ August 27, 2012, 7:25 am

      yep, we have high road at whole foods, but so do harris teeter and the fresh market. that stuff is awesome!

  • AmandaonMaui August 27, 2012, 1:18 am

    I won the opportunity to attend the pre-opening party at the Whole Foods on Maui. It was a pretty cool event. Our Whole Foods is much smaller than any of the others, but it still has quite a lot of what the other stores have. We have some other very nice health food stores on the island, but they don’t have the selection or parking that Whole Foods has.

    Do be aware that Whole Foods cannot guarantee that any of the food in the bulk bins is gluten free due to cross contamination. That bothers me because that means I can’t get the same prices as other people.

  • Jen August 27, 2012, 1:41 am

    LOVE Whole Foods! I still remember my excitement (and awe) the first time I explored the one that opened up near my work! Can’t shop there ALL the time for all things ($$$), but I have to make a WF run every now & then…in fact, I believe I’m about due for one now! 🙂

    Another great thing for you is that they have tons of gluten-free options. And, as far as hanging out there – a couple of times when I have wandered in on a Friday evening after work, they actually had live entertainment (music, poetry)…pretty cool! 🙂

  • Ali August 27, 2012, 2:36 am

    I love whole food too. It’s such a fun event to go food shopping!
    I wanted to add that although whole foods (and other stores) advertise “no growth hormones”
    ALL US meat have no growth hormones due to US law/regulations. I understand whole foods is informing us but it is not really anything different than any other US store! So it’s a little misleading. (I know there are no other additives at whole foods though which is great!)

  • Mel August 27, 2012, 4:14 am

    Like most people, I also really enjoy Whole Foods! I remember the first time I went to one; my sister and I went to the hot bar not knowing how expensive it can be! $20 bucks, one giant salad, and one angry sister later- I was in love. I really appreciate the efforts they make in terms of the kinds of food they choose to sell. I’m sure that it turns some people off, but I think that if you care at all about where your food comes from and what you put into your body, then you can appreciate it too! I also recently read a great article about Whole Foods trying to expand its base to underserved areas, places where ‘food deserts’ exist. (‘Food desert’ is a term to describe an area that does not have a grocery store or fresh produce available, typically poorer areas)

  • Jaclyn @ JustJac! August 27, 2012, 5:18 am

    okay right here, whole foods lover (i actually used to work there, lol) and i think it’s funny how you seem to be somewhat embarrassed about your love of WF but honestly, find one person who doesn’t love it….after telling them the wf mission of local, fresh, honest and good farming practices. that looks like a mighty fiiiiiine whole foods you guys are about to get, i am super jealous 🙂 oh and i have been to a WF with a wine/beer bar and it was awesome. I was there on a Friday night too (just shopping unfortunately, ha) but the place was poppin. no shame!

    PS- I loveeeee the top picture of you and henry in the stroller. it is so cute how he is looking right at you there.

  • GDadHTP August 27, 2012, 5:36 am

    Whole Paycheck…grumble….

  • Danielle @ A Sense of Balance August 27, 2012, 5:52 am

    I have never been to a Whole Foods and always see talk of them in the blog world. But, BUT, there is supposed to be one planned for this area! Right down the road from the Trader Joe’s that JUST opened. I can’t wait!

  • jen August 27, 2012, 5:52 am

    i cant even contain my jealousy here! our whole foods in RI seems so sad next to your bog cool one! i hope the liquid bilk catches on here!

  • Angela August 27, 2012, 6:36 am

    I’m so annoyed that I hadn’t started reading blogs when I last went to the US as I saw all these amazing stores but never went in them. Thankfully the only Whole Foods in the UK are in London so too far away for me to spend all my money in!

  • Lindsay McAlester August 27, 2012, 6:45 am

    My husband and I went to a WF Wine Dinner where they paired wines with every course. (I think 4.) We had so much fun! Afterwards we had another glass of wine at their Beer/ Wine Bar area. It was a Friday night and it was an awesome date night! Btw…buying the bottle is usually the best value. 😉 They’ll let you bring home what you don’t enjoy there.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 27, 2012, 7:56 am

    That’s so exciting that your city is getting a WF – and yours looks like a big one! 😀 They’re pretty rare here in Canada, so I’m lucky to have one that’s 20 minutes away from my parents’ house. I don’t buy a lot of my weekly groceries there because it’s too far away, but I love hitting it up for some specialty foods and the occasional hot bar lunch. I’m going to miss it so much when I head back to school in a week!

  • Brittney August 27, 2012, 8:27 am

    Ah, I wish I’d known you were doing this and that this was happening! I would have met you there! I was actually in South Park yesterday but couldn’t tell if Whole Foods was actually open or not, so I went to EarthFare instead! Bummer! Oh well, I’ll have to go check it out once it’s open 🙂

  • Whitney August 27, 2012, 8:42 am

    Ahh was just at SouthPark over the weekend and saw Whole Foods! Wasn’t sure when it was opening! YAY Charlotte!! 🙂

  • Molly @ RDexposed August 27, 2012, 8:42 am

    A few things:
    1. Beer tasting room and liquid bulk? Awesome.
    2. Did they define their definition of “no trans fat”?
    3. Do they carry a nutritionist or dietitian? I know you said nutritionist, but sometimes the two professions are confused (and by sometimes I mean 90% of the time).

  • Kim August 27, 2012, 9:35 am

    i live in Huntersville and was wondering when it would be opening! Thanks!!! 🙂

  • Carly August 27, 2012, 9:47 am

    Our Whole Foods has a beer/wine bar situated right in the middle of the cheese counter. Are you kidding me? My co-workers and I have enjoyed many a Friday night there 😀

  • Kasey August 27, 2012, 9:58 am

    I don’t understand the excitement for an over priced chain grocery store that targets people trying to eat healthy and exploits that. Yeah, maybe it’s easier to find vegan ingredients or what not now, but it’s just another corporate giant who doesn’t care about anything but getting your money. Support your local farmers.

    Must read:

  • Natalia August 27, 2012, 10:02 am
  • Lindsay August 27, 2012, 10:04 am

    “Is it sad that I can envision hanging out here on a Friday night? Wait. Please don’t answer that.”

    No, not sad at all. Or I’d be sad too!

    When we moved to Austin, we were so floored with living less than 10 minutes from Whole Foods HQ that it became a regular destination for Friday date night. Yes, dates in a grocery store. We’re not ashamed. That place rocks.

  • Kattrina August 27, 2012, 10:38 am

    I just cannot get on the Whole Foods bandwagon. I’ve read a few stories about them lying about the labels (i.e. selling meat as antibiotic-free only to have it revealed that the source did give antibiotics and WF knew about it) and at least here in DC there have been a few times they’ve been fined due to not recycling (i.e. they have a ton of recycle bins in the store and were fined because they combined them all and threw them in the trash). Plus, they refuse to let their workers unionize (the CEO compared having unions to having herpes). Plus, the CEO denies global warming, which I find odd since his grocery store is supposedly so Earth-friendly. I just don’t trust the company….

    I totally understand the addiction though! I do like a lot of their products and the store is always so interesting and fun to walk around. Plus, they have such an amazing bakery and hot/cold food bar. Unfortunately, it’s so incredibly expensive that I could never shop their regularly. There is one a few blocks from where I work and a rumor that one will open in 2014 in my community – so people are definitely excited!

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery August 27, 2012, 11:04 am

    Whole Foods is pretty much my favorite place to go. It takes me two hours to grocery shop sometimes because I have to look at everything 🙂 I didn’t know some of those facts though and that makes me love them even more! How cool!

  • Jillian August 27, 2012, 11:25 am

    I live two blocks from a Whole Foods and I’m not ashamed to admit I do happy hour there every Wednesday for Winesday. You pay $5 the first time and get a wine glass – you then get to go to 5 stations that give you have a glass of wine and a food pairing. After the first time, if you bring your wine glass back, it’s only $4. It’s amazing!! I’ve found so many new wines and tried so many new foods. It’s the highlight of my week and the cheapest happy hour!

  • Lindsay @ Fuel My Family August 27, 2012, 11:31 am

    I have never shopped at a whole foods! But i love that the meat is all antiobiotic, hormone free, and veg fed. I have tried to start paying attention ingredient lists and whether food is local versus just buying something because it has the organic stamp on it. If the meat is hormome and antibiotic free, it doesnt need the expensive usda stamp on it necessarily.

  • Debbi August 27, 2012, 11:40 am

    We were on the tour with you yesterday. I am so excited to be able to shop for my food at a place that takes what they sell so seriously. Really enjoyed reading your post.

  • jen August 27, 2012, 11:52 am

    We used to live just outside of Asheville and I loved, loved, loved Earth Fare, and thought I’d never love another store more. I was so wrong. We just moved to Wilmington, NC, a few weeks ago and a Whole Foods just opened here in May. I love it more than Earth Fare for so many reasons, many of which are things you mentioned in your post! I love that they have the ratings on their meat and don’t sell meat treated with antibiotics, I love that they sell pastured eggs, local produce, and I love their hot bar. Oh, and I love their brand of stuff, because it’s often times cheaper and better than the very expensive grocery store we’re forced to shop at in this area – Harris Teeter. I know Whole Foods has a reputation for being expensive, but I’ve found them to be reasonable. Enjoy yours when it opens.

    PS – We moved here on a Saturday and went to the hot bar for dinner. It was beyond packed. It seemed like everyone in the area went there for dinner, so it’s not pathetic that you’d dream of spending a Friday night at WF at all 🙂

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More August 27, 2012, 2:01 pm

    AWESOME!!! I love Whole Foods, I just wish their prices were a bit easier on my budget. :-/

  • Jessi @ doctorate housewife August 27, 2012, 4:52 pm

    I love a good grocery store! Sadly Whole Foods has no plans to open near me =(

  • Mary Archille Crank August 27, 2012, 7:29 pm

    We’re servicing the Thomasboro/Hoskins Community, our youth engagement plans activities within the community urban garden is planting seeds, nuturing crops, and teaching the benefits of healthy eating. Additionally, participants will assist in maintaining the garden, through weeding, harvesting, crop transplating and rotation. Our participants will partner with youth, senior, and community outreach groups to deliver a balance community service model. One of our partner is Friendship Trays! Check us out at CarolinaFest on September 3, 2012 thru September 5, 2012.

  • Angie August 27, 2012, 7:51 pm

    Thank you for posting about the Charlotte WF. I adore Charlotte, esp that area. (i live in SC) I am soo excited to see the store. I told my hubby we need to hit up Charlotte this weekend to check it out plus hit up South Park mall and Trader Joe’s.

    I live about 30 mins from Columbia and shop at Earth Fare regularly. Ive always wanted a WF to open in Cola. Thankfully there is one opening in Cola in the next couple months…ironically on the same road about 4 blocks from EF. My oldest son who is 14 also loves going to EF/WF because of their food bars.

    Im sooooo excited cos I am going to be there every weekend. I LOVE WF. the price is worth it to me. Our health is our wealth!

  • Katie August 27, 2012, 8:50 pm

    I just found your blog today while searching for news about the new Whole Foods and am so excited I did (already tried a couple of the recipes!). I’m a fellow Charlotte resident and have been looking for a good food/ health blog in this area. And I’m also really looking forward to the Whole Foods, I’ve been here for several years and am glad Charlotte is finally getting one!

  • Kirsten @ Confessions of a Jogaholic August 28, 2012, 12:18 am

    Oh. My. Goodness!
    You guys have such amazing grocery stores in the U.S.!! I would go on a tour too! 🙂
    We have none of those things (not even close) in Australia…our stores are so….well…STANDARD in comparison. And you definitely can’t buy alcohol from a grocery store here!
    Bring Whole Foods to Australia! (hmm…idea for a petition? ha.)
    It seems like you have much better quality food to choose from, & companies that care a lot more about what they sell.
    Mind. Blown.

  • Tiff (@LoveSweatBeers) August 28, 2012, 10:20 am

    Soooo happy Whole Foods is moving into town. 🙂 I have deep respect for those animal welfare standards.

  • suzie August 28, 2012, 1:09 pm

    I like whole foods a lot. However, I find it very disappointing that as an outspoken
    Vegetarian you are lauding whole foods alleged animal welfare practicesm
    There is really no such thing as “humane farming”. These animals are still kept in horrid
    Conditions there whole lives and are still killed for our consumption.
    These labels are just a way for corporations to make more money off
    Of compassionate people. Whole foods ceo john mackey works with humane society
    On many of these iniatives, along with pig farmers. I urge you to
    Do some more research on this. Check out humanemyth.org for more info. For
    Anyone that cares about the quality of life of these animals instead
    Of applauding so called animal welfare iniaitivesn don’t buy the meat.

    • CaitlinHTP August 28, 2012, 1:12 pm

      People are going to eat meat regardless. I’d rather they support methods that are not *as* bad as others. Obviously I don’t agree with any type of animal slaughter but I also recognize that the world is not going to go vegetarian.

      • suzie August 28, 2012, 1:46 pm

        I agree. I just feel that humane farming really distorts the picture and would rather people actually buy the non “cruelty fee” stuff bc it takes people that actually DO care about animals and tricks them into thinking they are doing a good thing when they are actually putting money into a very very bad industry. I recommend reading up about it. I know you love a good debate!

        I didn’t mean to attack I reaaly love ur blog, the animal welfare stuff is just a touchy subject for me bc I feel that the public is being terribly misled.

        • Caitlin August 28, 2012, 1:48 pm

          It wasn’t an attack nor was it perceived as such!

          And I agree, I hate it when marketers convince well-meaning people to buy things with labels that don’t mean much – or as much as it may seem (i.e. free roam).

  • adie (adiecakes) August 29, 2012, 10:29 pm

    These pictures remind me of the Whole Foods that was near where I lived in London! The bulk section was massive, and I would go out of my way to shop there (it was a 40 minute walk to Tesco’s 10) because I loved just wandering around the store for the better part of an afternoon. The selection of grains and beans and whatnot was just incredible! And lower priced than anywhere else, because it was in bulk 🙂 Enjoy it!!

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point