Uptown residents no longer need to trek south to grind their own nut butters or get a quick carton of goat's milk: Whole Foods has finally opened its doors in Harlem after nearly five years of construction. The new grocery store at 125th Street and Lenox marks the company's 12th location in the city—and the first above 97th Street.
This particular market features some unique offerings including a kebab restaurant, which serves a variety of Middle Eastern fare including tabbouleh salads, hummus and pita sandwiches; and a Cuban coffee walk-up window, where patrons can get their morning fill of café and Pan Cubano. The new store has teamed up with Harlem Park to Park's LOCAL Vendor Program to stock 18 brands sourced directly from the neighborhood such as Egunsi Foods, Mama’s One Sauce and The Harlem Pie Man. This effort to incorporate the local brands into the store is great to see considering there has been some controversy over the gentrification of the neighborhood and the small businesses that went down with the old building.
Harlem's Whole Foods also has a variety of events on tap for the community. There will be live music nights at the caf and free healthy cooking classes with themes like raw food or obesity prevention. If a cooking class for raw food seems like the most unnecessary thing you've ever heard, just be aware that the store sells eight types of kale. Yes, really.