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Whole Foods, Mecca for Foodies, Austin, Texas


We couldn’t go to Austin without visiting the Mecca for Foodies, Whole Foods.  In 2005, the grocery store that changed the way America shops, built a new 80,000 square food flagship emporium on the outskirts of downtown Austin designed to show off everything that Whole Foods stands for.

Whole Foods did as much as anybody to bring natural foods movement into mainstream. Often called Whole Paycheck because of the cost of the food,  it’s claim to fame is that  it made Organic foods popular and Health Nuts happy.

Whole Foods, started in 1980 in Austin, then a small city known to some as not being “really Texas.”  According to a recent article in New Yorker Magazine, “Austin in the 1970s was a cheap and groovy little town.” Nothing like the rest of Texas.

Funny about that. Many shoppers in the 280 stores spread around the country are surprised that Whole Foods started in Austin rather than Berkley, Boston or Oregon, parts of the country known for aging hippies and free thinking.

The store in Austin is dazzling.  Actually it is much more than a store.  The parking was underground with an escalator style ramp for transporting grocery carts. Kids twirled around on ice skates on the roof.  It looked to me like people came there just to eat; there are so many sites with in the store to grab a bite.

I’m wondering if these folks believe what some people say, “You’re not just buying food, you are buying an identity.”  Granola crunching, health food nut? Elitist? Supporter of Fair Trade coffee growers?  I don’t know but I do know the store and the food presented in it is a work of art….and much of it healthy.

We meandered around the store filled with huge displays of olives, cheeses, pastries, meats and fish and produce galore.  We tasted wine and marveled at the massive walk in beer cooler.

We ogled the large quantities of gorgeous produce, artistically presented although I read in a blog after the visit that those displays are artificially plumped up with stuffing underneath them.  The blogger described this as a “Wonderbra for produce.”

I didn’t care.  It was visually stunning.

But it does make you wonder what else is fake.

I wasn’t able to take photos of the incredible produce because as I was shooting the shot shown below, an employee came up and said, “Photography isn’t allowed.”  Too bad.  The produce was  artistic and interesting.

Oh well. We bought some goodies and headed on our way.  Lots to see and do in Austin, Texas.

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Peggy DePersia
    Jan 13, 2010 Reply

    I never would have imagined that Whole Foods came out of Austin. I always connected it with California….having had my first Whole Foods experience in Walnut Creek California outside San Francisco. Emporium is a Whole Foods kind of a word isn’t it? We need those kinds of words for those kinds of places.

  2. posted by
    R. Lyle Boatman
    Jan 14, 2010 Reply

    We luuuuv Whole Foods in San Diego!

  3. posted by
    Kim Cornetet
    Jan 15, 2010 Reply

    Whole Foods doesn’t look like this in Sarasota..Wow!

  4. posted by
    Kim Cornetet
    Jan 15, 2010 Reply

    Love the sign with the Olives on it!

  5. posted by
    Jan 26, 2010 Reply

    My neighbor Ann sent me your site and I just thoroughly enjoyed it. I have lived in the Texas Hill Country a long time and learned a lot from your presentation. Well done!

  6. posted by
    Jan 27, 2010 Reply

    Thank you, Lil.
    I had a wonderful time in the Texas Hill Country and look forward to a return visit.

  7. posted by
    Keeping Austin Weird | DesignDestinations
    Mar 30, 2015 Reply

    […]  Whole Foods Mecca for Foodies  […]

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