Blame it on a mac and cheese bar if the opening Wednesday of Union Station’s Whole Foods is starting to sound like the Second Coming. This first downtown branch of the Amazon-owned grocer is actually the 21st Whole Foods in Colorado. It spans 50,000 square feet, displays a 100-pound cheese tower, sells Kindles, and Echos, and Fires; and, yes, it also provides a rotating selection of macaroni and cheese options — lobster, bacon and blue, pancetta with roasted tomatoes — along its lunch bar.
For the grand opening Wednesday, Whole Foods is pulling out any and all remaining stops, offering free pedicab rides during lunch to the LoDo store and giving away concert tickets and restaurant gift cards to customers. Live jazz and other musical performances will fill the aisles, and five percent of first-day sales will benefit Denver Public Schools.
Whole Foods seems to have picked up on a strong neon trend (see store signage), and it has added second-floor patio and lounge seating to its layout. This all serves to make the upscale grocer feel slightly more like a trendy food hall. Dining options include Denver-based Birdcall fried chicken, Tel Aviv Street Food, Kikka Sushi, Füdmill pastries, and an Allegro Coffee Roasters. RiNo restaurant incubator Comal will eventually also serve Mexican and Syrian dishes. Diners can take their meals to the second-story lounge, as well as onto an outdoor balcony with views over LoDo and Union Station.
Status: Whole Foods Market Union Station opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday, November 15, at 1701 Wewatta Street. Following the opening, the store will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.