Last night, my friend Sally* and I decided we wanted to eat dinner at Whole Foods. We got there probably around 7:30 and wandered around trying to choose what we wanted. Sushi? Pizza? Salad bar? So much to choose from. But then we saw the restaurant in the middle of it all. A place where you actually sit down, in the middle of a grocery store, and order a gourmet dinner. We decided to splurge. It was obviously a popular choice, evidenced by the packed out bar and the people waiting to steal the seats of the first people to abandon their posts. So Sally* and I became the hoverers. We stood behind an older couple and waited for them to finish their wine. As soon as we saw them put their money down on the bar, we encroached upon the empty bar chairs.
Since the store is so new, the workers had yet to find their rhythm. We waited for a while before we got to look at menus and order. But we were sitting where we could watch the cooks in action, so we were entertained and not complaining. It took quite a while for them to get our pork medallions in bourbon sauce out to us, and in the mean time the head cook offered us a glass of wine on the house. We accepted, of course, and enjoyed a tasty glass of pinot noir (dare I say the tastiest pinot noir I've ever had) while we waited for our meal. We chatted it up with the cooks and servers, and made a few new friends. Joselle, Cory, Kevin, Marcus. They loved us. Our meal was delicious, and we had a delightful time talking with Marcus, who took a seat next to us at the bar to enjoy his own meal while on a break. Joselle refilled our wine glasses to the brims, and we stayed to finish. Marcus filled me in on the benefits of working at Whole Foods (of which there are many, and I won't say I'm not considering it). He could tell that Sally* and I had a nice buzz from our free wine and he said, "What if you had to call a cab to get home from the grocery store?" Sally and I laughed (rather loudly) about this comment.
Two and a half hours later, when we were ready to leave and the store was about to close, Joselle told us that our meals were also on the house. Free wine. Free food. A buzz at the grocery store. That's what I call a good night.
I love Whole Foods.
*Not her real name.