Whole Foods Market opens its newest location and its 41st store in Southern California at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 16, in Los Olivos Marketplace, 8525 Irvine Center Drive in Irvine. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the expansive 42,638-square-foot retail destination brings a culinary wonderland for shopping, dining and entertaining to Irvine with its mix of innovative offerings and vibrant design that reflects the community’s active, forward-thinking energy. The store brings more than 150 jobs to the area.
“We’re thrilled to bring Irvine a new, innovative option for shopping, entertaining and gathering with friends and family,” said Patrick Bradley, president, Whole Foods Market Southern Pacific Region. “From the bar-restaurant, The IRV with local brews, to the self-serve pizza station and made-to-order poke, whether stopping in for a quick lunch or picking up groceries before the after-work commute, this store provides the best we have to offer in a convenient location for Orange County residents and professionals.”
Featuring a juice and smoothie bar, fresh poke, expanded vegan options in all departments, a coffee bar (with local Bodhi Leaf cold brew on tap), more than 1,000 hand-picked wines and bar-restaurant The IRV, Whole Foods Market Irvine offers an array of options for health enthusiasts, devoted foodies and shoppers with families looking for convenience and products that meet the company’s strict quality standards. For example, prepared foods features hot ramen and mazemen, which is a dry, or soup-less, ramen topped with options like spicy albacore, salmon or fresh vegetables. In grocery, more than 400 items will be on sale opening week, like pantry staples and favorites such as whole grains, steel cut oats, cookies and other snacks free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. In the meat department, butchers will cut steaks to order; pork butts and beef briskets smoked for 14 hours, plus whole and heirloom chicken will be served every day. In seafood, shoppers can purchase grill-ready salmon burgers, crab cakes and marinated options.
With a seasonal menu and more than 150 indoor and outdoor seats, daily specials, 24 taps, including local crafted beer and a brunch menu, the family-friendly The IRV offers a new lunch and happy hour spot in the Los Olivos Marketplace. The seasonal menu includes an assortment of small plates, salads, flatbreads and entrees with many vegan and vegetarian options and a kid’s menu. For dessert, shoppers can indulge in locally made “boozy” gelato and Rocq Vanilla Crème Brulee. The IRV features a wide selection of wines by the glass, local brews and produce-inspired signature cocktails such as the Chupracabra, a “green” take on a Bloody Mary made with juiced kale, cucumber, celery juice, grapefruit, orange juice and mescal.
The store will open at 9 a.m., following a “bread-breaking” ceremony with team members, city officials and the community. Shoppers can enjoy free samples; the first 300 shoppers will receive reusable shopping bags (while supplies last). From 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. kids of all ages can enjoy bag decorating with vegetable stamps made of potatoes, wood blocks and corks. There will be food and beverage demos, a DJ, selfie stations and photo contest for a $100 gift card.
Additional amenities include free Wi-Fi available to shoppers in seating areas throughout the store, an expanded kid-friendly section in the grocery department and a Kids’ Club that will host events and activities for area families with young children. Shoppers who buy a case of any product in the store receive 10 percent off.
Opening week highlights include local wine sampling by Hearst Ranch, food demonstrations from Mary’s Free Range Chicken and Beauty Week in the Whole Body department. From March 18 to 20, all facial care products will be 25 percent off regular price. On Friday, March 18, stores will offer limited edition “hello, beauty” bags for $15.
As the company does in every neighborhood in which it opens, Whole Foods Market Irvine partnered with like-minded organizations to foster and support the community, including Irvine Public School Foundation which will receive five percent of the store’s net sales on Thursday, March 24.
Prepared Foods: Whole Foods Market chefs work in the in-house kitchen, creating handmade pizza, whole or by the slice (including stout-crust pizza!), made-to-order sushi, in-house chips, custom-made sandwiches and meals-on-the-go. Includes a large rotating hot bar with 16 wells, all-organic salad bar, daily breakfast and global cuisine (BBQ, Asian, Indian and more). Catering is available for office and home entertaining needs. Charcuterie, deli meats, many made and roasted in-house using organic, local and grass-fed options, are free of added synthetic nitrates and nitrites. Locally sourced ingredients include Mary’s Chicken from Sanger, California, and salad greens from Kenter Canyon. Includes 12 feet of grab-n-go salads, sandwiches, wraps, entrees, pizzas and soups pre-packaged and ready to eat or heat and serve. Prepared foods items meet the same standards as all products sold in the store.
Coffee Bar: A beautifully designed coffee bar with an Italian-crafted espresso machine and cold brew coffee on tap offers custom espresso drinks and coffee made with organic, fair trade and Whole Trade Guarantee™ coffee beans and features local Bodhi Leaf blend on cold brew. Shoppers can choose from three rotating single-origin coffees and can select from a range of brewing methods (Hario V60 Pour Over, Chemex Pour Over, French Press).
Juice & Smoothie Bar: The smoothie and juice bar offers made-to-order smoothies with choice of toppings, juices and “boost-ups” like pressed ginger, turmeric and wheatgrass.
Produce: Includes an extensive selection of organic fruits and vegetables from local Southern California growers such as Kenter Canyon and Orange County-based Manessero Farms; this location will offer a new line of sous vide root vegetables like kohlrabi, parsnips and butternut squash; the department offers local organic micro-greens from Kowalke Family Sprouts; and orchids from Formosa Orchids. Seasonal culinary selections include varietal and exotic items from around the world. Plus, cut fruit, vegetables, veggie pasta noodles, salsas and guacamole are made in-store daily.
In-Store Bakery: Offers custom in-house cake decorating and an elegantly designed cake case filled with in-house and local items such as Rocq macarons and aHāna gluten free mousse cups. Features Whole Foods Market’s Non-GMO Project-verified cookies with seven varieties and artisan, hand-kneaded, hand-shaped, scratch bread that begins with a living 20-year-old starter made with unbleached flour and without artificial preservatives or hydrogenated fats. Bread is made fresh daily by in-store bakers.
Seafood: Includes made-to-order poke and hand-sliced smoked salmon daily, sustainably sourced fresh fillets, steaks, local and seasonal seafood. Seafood is cut in-house daily and delivered six days a week. Offering fresh whole fish (cleaned at no charge), a grill-ready assortment of seafood burgers, crab cakes and marinated options, value priced, vacuum packed fish and shellfish and a variety of seafood salads and ceviches made fresh daily. Whole Foods Market has full knowledge and traceability of all fresh seafood and strives to source local options that meet the company’s strict quality standards.
Meat: Butchers can provide any cut and size of the highest quality meats from animals raised without the use of antibiotics and added hormones. All beef, chicken and pork are step-rated, using Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare rating system, and adhere to Whole Foods Market’s stringent quality standards. The store features full lines of 100 percent grass-fed organic beef and organic chicken and a selection of meats marinated and seasoned in-house. Smokehouse offerings include meats smoked in- house daily, smoked meat sandwiches and bowls.
Whole Body: Boasts an upscale cosmetics bar and features a large “active living” selection of protein powders, supplements and clothing. All supplements sold at Whole Foods Market are free of artificial colors, flavors and hydrogenated oils; and products with the “Premium Body Care” seal meet the strictest standards for quality sourcing, environmental impact, results and safety.
Specialty (beer, wine, cheese): Features a handpicked wine collection of more than 1,000 wines, with eco-friendly and biodynamic wines starting at $2.49 per bottle. More than 100 bottles are less than $10. Offering a varied selection of hard-to-find, special-occasion wines and grower champagnes. The department includes a 56-foot chilled beer alley with an assortment of hyper local and local craft beers, seasonal releases, domestic favorites and unique imports. A comprehensive selection of raw, grass-fed, farmstead and artisanal cheeses can be cut to order and sampled at any time. Features Whole Foods Market wine expert’s curated wine selection for perfect meal pairings, 90 point rated and “Under $20 Daily Drinkers” wine barges.
Grocery: Customers can choose from hundreds of 365 Everyday Value™ products, locally made packaged goods, frozen meals, Whole Paws pet food products, home and cleaning products bearing the Eco-Scale label, indicating environmental impact. The frozen section includes 47 doors and two bunkers of goodies from entrees to ice cream, pizzas and more. The bulk section offers dozens of grains, flours, nuts, spices, candies available by the pound and grind your own peanut butter. Shoppers who buy a case of any product in the store receive 10 percent off.