Shoppers still can’t get kale tattoos from Whole Foods, but the company’s seven-day-old Bryant Park location does have one exciting new perk: the first-ever “produce butcher,” a person who’d like nothing more than to delicately clean and de-stem your lacinato.
This person’s ginormous counter is one of the many “in-store innovations worth noting,” according to the press release, setting the new store up as a clear challenger to the Columbus Circle location (of $8-chopped-cheese fame) for best self-parody. Shoppers too lazy to cut their own onions can plop them on the cutting board of this poor employee, who must “cut, slice, dice, julienne, chop, and grate any produce item at a shopper’s request.”
The service, it’s worth noting, isn’t free — Gothamist says it’ll set you back $1 per pound for bulk items, or an extra $1 for things priced individually. (Hopefully this ensures produce butchers get health coverage, to treat the carpal tunnel syndrome they’re on the road to acquiring.)
Eataly actually invented this gig seven years ago. Food-performance artist Jennifer Rubell half-jokingly suggested it to Mario Batali, who promptly installed her at a station peeling carrots and trimming artichokes. The service is now Rubell-less, but is available free of charge in multiple Eatalys, and is still taken very seriously over there — one former veggie butcher is such an expert that she’s published a book on the topic.