Whole Foods’ stock may be in the clearance bin, but their presence in Los Angeles is on the upswing. They just opened a Playa Vista store, are putting the finishing touches on a DTLA outpost, and recently announced that one of their first 365 stores, a more affordable version of the WF experience, is opening in a former Ralphs in Silver Lake.
We all know the old jokes of “Whole Paycheck,” but aside from dealing with the inflated prices of the Texas chain, there are parking conundrums that usually go hand-in-hand with the organic grocer. To make it easier for you Kombucha Heads, we’re assigning grades to each WF parking lot or garage in L.A., as well as including tips for getting in and out as fast as possible. Read our rankings of the Westwood and West L.A. stores here, Santa Monica (mid-city) and Brentwood here, Santa Monica (downtown) and Venice here, Playa Vista and Montana Avenue here, and check out more reviews every Thursday.
Our ninth and tenth stores:
Beverly Hills: It’d be interesting to see how many people in greater L.A. actually know there’s a Whole Foods in 90210. Like all things Beverly Hills, it comes off as exclusive, hidden away on a residential section of Crescent Drive. The only way in—for both cars and pedestrians—is an entrance right on Crescent (having walkers dodge luxury vehicles—how Beverly Hills). The one-story garage is accented with a floral arrangement and on a recent weekday night was mostly tranquil, save for a few drivers who felt entitled to careen in and out without turning their head or glancing in the mirror. There’s an hour of free parking and an overflow lot next door. We don’t find ourselves grocery shopping in the Golden Triangle that often, but if we ever sell that script and move on up to the Westside, we’ll know where to get artisanal hummus. *No celeb spottings this time, but it’s not a bad store for that sort of thing.
Parking Grade: B
Third/Fairfax: This may be the quintessential L.A. Whole Foods; sadly, that’s not a good thing. Fronted by the tourist trap that is the Grove, as well as an ugly, constantly-packed surface parking lot, this store should come with a free yoga class so shoppers can de-stress afterward. Here’s the problem in a nutshell; it’s a suburban store in an urban environment. Everyone is parking in the lot and heading maybe to WF, but possibly to Andre’s spaghetti cafeteria, CVS, KMart (what is that store doing here?), or the Grove. The parking limit is 90 minutes, but how can any of the attendants tell how long someone’s been in the lot? There’s bike parking, but you can also see plenty of people tying their wheels to signposts, so there must not be enough. Walking in is not pleasant, what with the bumper car rally taking place in front of the store. Sure, if you hit this place up on a Tuesday at 11:12 a.m., it’s not bad. Most other times, just no. Tear this whole thing down, get rid of the KMart, and put the parking underground.
Parking Grade: D-