The new Whole Foods Market in Rockville opens today, and the old Rockville store is now permanently closed. The new 51,000-square-foot store with underground parking is located across from White Flint at 11355 Woodglen Drive. Last night, a pre-opening tour was held for local bloggers and Examiners. Each department spoke about their new offerings, mentioning an impressive array of local and farm fresh items. The entire seafood department and some of the produce department were still empty, ready for fresh items in the morning.
Throughout the store, there are specialty gluten-free sections in several aisles, including frozen baked goods, boxed seafood, baking mixes, cookies, and crackers. Additionally, the store has a wonderful selection of food that is naturally gluten-free, including meat, cheese, seafood, and produce. New gluten-free products were spotted, such as Moondance Desserts cookies in the bakery section, Starfish Italian Breaded Sole, and 3 Fellers Bakery.
So, what makes the Rockville store unique from other Whole Foods? Before entering the store, the new garden center is evident. Just inside the store by a beautiful floral department, there is fresh gelato and a coffee bar. The coffee bar opens daily at 7 am, one hour before the rest of the store. At the end of the produce section, which contains many crates made from recycled wood, is a revolutionary section called Cooking Rockville. Chef Michael Kiss works 40 hours per week as the cooking coach in this great new department.
“Shoppers at the new location will be the first to experience Whole Foods Market’s new Cooking Rockville department and program, which combines designated workspaces, cookbooks, cooking tools, demonstrations, and themed, seasonal menus to engage, inspire and educate shoppers about the joy of cooking. The Cooking area will be an inviting, warm space featuring butcher block workspaces, chalkboards, and touch-screen technology, where Cooking Coaches — Whole Foods Market team members with in-depth culinary knowledge — will help shoppers bring the passion back into cooking seasonal meals at home.”
While some prepared foods as well as items in Cooking Rockville do not contain gluten ingredients, the department representatives stated that there is cross-contamination. However, there are plenty of gluten-free products throughout the store to satisfy any gluten-free shopper. For a virtual tour of the store, watch this slideshow.