The upcoming Whole Foods Market at 1701 Wewatta Street behind Union Station is shaping up to be much more than just a grocery store. With the addition of attached restaurants and internal food stalls, this one will have something in common with food halls like the Denver Central Market and the upcoming Milk Market downtown. Denver chicken sandwich purveyor Birdcall has already announced its intention to roost at the latest outpost of the Austin-based grocery chain, and now the U Baron Group (owners of Etai's and Izzio Artisan Bakery) will add a new concept there, too.
Robin Bar-On, whose father, Udi, founded the bakery and restaurant company more than 25 years ago (brother Etai is also in on the business), says the name of the new project will be Tel Aviv Street Food, which will sell six pita sandwiches and other Isreali-style food from a kiosk where customers can order from a number of other vendors inside Whole Foods. "It will really reflect what Tel Aviv street food is right now," she explains. "There are so many cultural culinary influences there."
At the heart of the menu will be six sandwiches built on Israeli pita that Bar-On says is made from a fermented dough that results in a fluffy pita with a large, porous crumb. The pita pockets will hold a variety of ingredients like brisket braised with tomato and dried Persian lime, slow-roasted lamb and traditional falafel. But Bar-On adds that street food in Tel Aviv has Persian, Kurdish, Armenian and Libyan influences (to name a few), so the spice blend for the lamb (developed in conjunction with Savory Spice Shop) comes from an Armenian recipe, while the green and red harissa sauces come from Yemenite and Libyan cooking, respectively.
All of the sandwich fillings can also be added to a rice-and-lentil bowl or mixed-salad bowl, and a hummus plate can be ordered with a choice of any of the meats or falafel. In addition to the fried garbanzo orbs, other sides will include fries and charred cauliflower.
For now, this is the only Tel Aviv Street Food location planned, though the U Baron Group is looking to expand the number of Etai's outposts.
The new Whole Foods will have a number of other unique amenities for shoppers: Birdcall will have a beer and wine bar, making it the only Whole Foods in Colorado with a liquor license, and there will be Korean, Peruvian and Japanese dishes available from the chef-driven food counter. A twelve-tap juice bar will allow customers to create their own blends, and other breakfast options will include overnight oats and a full-service coffee station from Allegro Coffee Roasters. But possibly the most desirable perk will be parking: The grocery store will have 165 spaces in an underground parking garage (free to shoppers who validate their parking stubs).
Opening day is November 15 at 8:45 a.m. There will be door prizes and giveaways in addition to a Pike Place-inspired fish market set up just for opening weekend.