The new Whole Foods 365 in Cedar Park had a pre-opening parking lot party on Sunday, a soft opening on Tuesday, and the grand opening Wednesday (yesterday), so I wasn't entirely sure how feasible it would be to try to make a quick trip, especially with a two-year-old in tow.
However, we made the visit, and it wasn't too bad at all. The parking lot was extremely full, so we didn't try to get too close to the store. But even with all of the people, I never felt claustrophobic, so it was good.
There is a JuiceLand right as you enter the store. That is a good idea, if you or your kids go in a little peckish. Sure, you're going to spend $4+ on a smoothie, but think of the money and junk food purchases you'll save!
Easy Tiger is a bakery (and beer garden) opposite, and it has both an indoor eating area and an outdoor patio. Speaking of the patio...
We got to blow off some steam before we went inside, as they have all of this cool stuff for the kiddos. There's an astroturf area with two kid-sized picnic tables, a bunch of blocks, some hula hoops, and four or five rocking "chairs" (those pod-looking things).
The eating area isn't entirely fenced in, but the kids' area is surrounded by tables, and I'd feel comfortable chatting with someone while my kid played, even though you're right by the parking lot.
There is a "Veggie Alley," kind of like a walk-in beer refrigerator, but for vegetables. I didn't go in there because I hate getting cold in the grocery store. They have deli items, a self-serve bakery, meat, etc.
There were a lot of employees restocking and facing items, and offering samples. But there wasn't a service deli or a bakery attendant or any of those things that many typical Whole Foods have.
The focus of 365 is supposed to be slightly lower prices, and more grab-and-go stuff. The store was very conveniently set up for that.
Above is the freezer section. They didn't go high, so you're able to see most of the store from any location inside. You'll notice, this isn't a sprawling complex; then again, the closest Whole Foods Market to where I used to live was their flagship location downtown Austin, and that thing is a beast.
This 365 has just enough stuff for you to have some nice choices, but without experiencing decision fatigue.
For instance, this one section is all of the peanut butter and jelly that they have. Again, plenty of choices, but not Peter Pan and Jif and Hershey's and Reese's and two store brands (it's all 365 Organics and a couple of boutique/local brands), etc.
And the "regular grocery" section of the store is pretty small. The middle of the store is convenience items, in tune with the "grab-and-go" focus. There are a ton of water choices, and then take-out meals.
Snap Kitchens is so delicious and is "fast good" you can feel good about giving to your family.
Elsewhere, they had sushi, a salad bar, pizza-by-the-slice, and other "ready" meals you could enjoy out on the patio.
Just past the registers, there are a couple of microwaves, in case you get something from, say, Snap Kitchens, and you want to eat it with your friends out on-site.
Before we left, I had to check out the Easy Tiger Bakery items (oh, and they are apparently hiring, if anyone is interested). The counter was pretty busy, but here are a few of the items.
Here is their entire menu.
There's a big Connect Four game right by Easy Tiger, but it was up on that counter and couldn't be accessed by kids, plus it's kind of rickety, but my kid was extremely happy about it.
Also, if you bring your pup, they have doggy parking right at the front of the store! There wasn't any water, which might be a nice touch. But these "parking spaces" are adorable.
I had laid out all I bought, and thought I took a picture, but apparently I did not. I got two bags of stuff for about $60, but saved $5 by signing up for their 365 rewards program (which you can do online). I have no idea how that compares to other stores or Whole Foods, honestly. I will say that their strawberries are amazing, and my son ate an entire half pint of blueberries in the car on the way home. Oh, and the 365 Organics "mismatched sandwich cookies" are way better than Oreos's version.
Check it out!