Whole Foods (The Pearl location)
1210 NW Couch Street
OK, I’m all for healthy eating and stuff, but I do have some standards: I won’t eat it if it doesn’t taste good. I think I know what tastes good, healthy and not-so-healthy.
Yes, Whole Foods is a supermarket chain, but I just had to write this review. In the Pearl, the Whole Foods supermarket seems to be a popular lunch place-the tables and lunch bar always seem to be full, but, after several tries, I have no idea why.
Sure, they have an extensive array of ready-to-eat options, including pizza, a salad bar and sandwiches, etc. But, here’s my short review: unless you are in a huge hurry, skip it!
Yes, kids, it’s not worth spending $10 for a salad that tastes like crap.
What’s wrong with Whole Foods is that it seems they feel like they can mark up prices because they feed into that “green” image. Seriously, I’ve had better food at the ready-to-eat counter at my local Safeway, even a convenience store!
I also have a problem with their prices. The salad bar is $7.99 a pound, but how the heck do you check to see how much it’s going to ring up for at the cash register? I made my own salad the last time I had lunch there, and it ended up almost $10, and then I decided that it tasted pretty bad-so I didn’t even get close to eating half. Now, I am not against salad bars. In fact, when the Lunch Lady lived in Washington, DC, she would trek all the way out to the Harris Teeter grocery store in Arlington, Virginia, just for the salad bar.
The Whole Foods salad bar is plentiful, offering several different types of greens, pre-mixed salad options, a good variety of vegetable and fruit, a couple of meat options, tuna salad, cheeses, salad topping and dressings. They also offer some pasta salads, macaroni and cheese, lasagna, pasta salads and a variety of “global” dishes. But, remember, if you want to nosh on the heavier items, you’re going be paying more for it. They should really put a scale out there so you don’t accidentally go over your lunch budget.
As for the ready-to-eat options, their signature sandwiches start at around $6.00 and go up from there. A pre-made sandwich, the ones wrapped in cling wrap, will run you the same, but they look pretty close to what you can get at a 7-11. The pizza looks OK, but there are much better places in town to fill your pizza needs-Rocco’s is really just steps away and a much better option!
My least favorite thing about Whole Foods is easily the seating. If you are planning to eat-in, check to see if there is any good seating. Sitting at the lunch bar is a total pain in the ass, to say the least. The seating at the lunch bar is just awkward and uncomfortable. It’s elbow to elbow and you don’t get enough room if you have a large plate.
Overall, I think my problem with the food is that it’s too bland and too expensive for what you get. There are so many options in the Pearl, so why bother with Whole Foods?
In fantastic news, there will soon be a new addition to Pearl lunchtime options. I just got an email from the owner of the coming-soon Mercato (at NW 9th and Couch), and they are planning to open as soon as they are done with inspections! I can’t wait to check it out.
Pros: The pizza looks OK to try, good veggie and vegan options, you can get your grocery shopping done at the same time, get your food to-go
Cons: The ready-to-eat items and salad bar seem overpriced, seating totally sucks!
Download the sandwich menu