The new South Loop Whole Foods opened a few days ago in a strip mall at 1100 S Canal. Being west of the river and the tracks, this location does not really qualify as the South Loop, but who’s counting? Every new WF comes with a ton of amenity experiments - in this case, an in-house meat smoker, a wine-by-the-glass dispenser, LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; is this like ISO-9007?), and…according to Reuters, a Friday night dinner where participants get together with an in-house chef, walk the aisles choosing and picking up ingredients, cooking them up together and eating the results. Apparently, WF has already implemented this scheme in Milwaukee and St. Louis, where the dinners run $60 and $65, respectively.
We have to admit that, if you can get over the creepy, soulless, corporate chain element to it, the dinner sounds like a lot of fun, kid-in-a-candy-store style. But how are you going to get the surely high-strung and entitled participants to agree on what to make? We are looking forward to the headline: “Heated debate over arugula vs. frisee ends in bloodbath at Whole Foods.” Also, sinisterly, WF plans to get involved with the Maxwell Street Market. Hmm…organic huitlacoche? We will be following this one closely.