In Dallas where the fake boobs are bigger and the suburbs are whiter, there is a fight going on between upscale snootery. This isn’t some battle for the best Latina nanny or who gets to wear the diamond-encrusted designer coture at Steffy’s debutant ball or even the cliqueish argument over deed restrictions banning animals that aren’t “cute.” No, this is bigger. This is grocery store WAR!
A few days ago, a brand new Whole Foods Market opened complete with the Mayor doing the ribbon cutting ceremony (he apparently shops there). Big deal, you say. A-ha, but this is no ordinary Whole Foods.
But isnâ€™t it just a grocery store?
Yes, it is. And a dozen other things crammed into 52,000 square feet. Such as: a gourmet cheese shop where they will age your cheese for you in specially designed cases. A candy store with a taffy-pulling machine, a cotton-candy machine and a chocolate fountain in which you can get anything you want dipped and drowned (within reason). A bona fide New York deli. A vinegar- and oil-tasting station like the one at Williams-Sonoma. A â€œseafood theaterâ€ where you can watch sushi being made all day. A butcher shop with a dry-aging room on full display. A clothing store where shirts are fashioned from bamboo. A full-blown spa. A coffee shop and pastry store that opens an hour before the actual grocery (at 7 a.m., for those tired of their Starbucks ritual). A wi-fi cafe. And on and onâ€“everything you find at other Whole Foods and their competitors, only bigger, brighter, better.
It is, to the best of our knowlege, the only grocery store with its own concierge desk. Need someone else to shop for you? That is what they will do, for $20 an hourâ€“though, the Whole Foods PR person says, it usually takes only half that time. They will also arrange for your groceries to be delivered, should you need to run other errands or duck into the Refresh spa for a stone massage, a hydrating body scrub or a consultation with a nutritionist.
Ok, Kirby Whole Foods, you better get cracking! But, this isn’t the best of it. Oh, no. Just in time for holiday competiton, Central Market opened a new store in the totally sanitary Southlake subdivision of Big D. According to their website, the store is like so totally hot and way cooler than the new Whole Foods.
The eighth Central Market store and the fourth one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is a â€œnext-generationâ€ store that offers new and exciting adventures in food and new flavors to grow taste. There are many special features at Southlake that will also be implemented at the other Central Markets. These features include Fresh from the Farm Arrivals at the entrance, a surround-food demo station, a sequential layout for the meat and seafood markets, a Mozzarella Live! service counter, a Kitchen Drawer housewares section, a Salts of the Earth salt bar and a bath salt bar, soap salon and facial spa bar in Healthy Living.
Central Market store also features a fast-casual, seated cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and a state-of-the-art-of-fun playground outside the cafe.
I don’t even want to know what a salt bar is and I freaking love salt. Best yet, and this may put CM over the top, is the unveiling of their 12-foot grocery cart powered by a V8 – the engine size, not the ground up vegetable beverage, although I hypothesize that this baby may RUN on V8.
So, Houston stores, you have your work cut out for you. Get busy!