Photos by Daniel Deitch
Just before opening day on June 20, we paid an advance visit to the brand-new Whole Foods Market on Olive Avenue in Burbank. The 42,000-square-foot space with an adjacent 240-spot parking structure features all the fresh, natural and organic products that customers have come to expect, plus some exciting special features and a distinctly local spin.
“One of the things I personally like about Whole Foods Market is that we are a true community store,” Store Team Leader Dave Aebersold says. “Every store you go to is going to be a little different, and as we see the trends and how the shoppers are requesting things, we get to make tweaks here and there to match the community even more. The design team here did an amazing job playing off the fact that we’re across the street from the studios.” That theme comes through in the bold, colorful décor and playful signage, with department names like “The Butcher’s Cut,” “The Cheese Show” and “Lights, Camera, Eat.”
The store stocks more than 800 unique items from 350 local growers and producers, with many other foods handmade on site daily, such as baked-from-scratch bread and smoked meats and seafood. The expanded focus on prepared foods to meet the anticipated demand for carryout lunches and dinners includes a sandwich station, a taqueria, by-the-slice and whole pizzas, a hot bar with rotating seasonal dishes, a salad bar, a full vegan bar, a breakfast bar, poke bowls, made-to-order sushi and plenty of grab-and-go options.
Customers can take a seat at on-site restaurant and bar Stage 71 (the name is a nod to both the local entertainment industry and the Burbank location’s status as Whole Foods store #71) to enjoy their purchases on the spot, or order from a special menu of favorites like cauliflower nachos and the Beyond Burger — there’s an array of wines, cocktails and tap beers with a daily happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., an outdoor patio, and plans for live music performances by local musicians and DJs. Among the other store offerings are a coffee and juice bar, more than 400 produce items, and unique flowers (look for the striking green-eyed roses).
“I’ve been with the company for 30 years and I’ve opened a couple stores, but this one has been so long-awaited,” Aebersold says, noting that Whole Foods has been working to add a location in Burbank for more than a decade. “I’m excited to finally be able to bring this to fruition and bring an amazing store to this community.”