SouthGlenn Whole Foods opens Monday...but here's a preview

All you civilians are going to have to wait until Monday, June 15, to witness the unveiling of the state's newest Whole Foods Market, the nineteenth in the Rocky Mountain region, and one of the first tenants in a wave of retailers, bars and restaurants that's setting up digs in the Streets of SouthGlenn, a mixed use redevelopment complex in the former SouthGlenn shopping mall at University Boulevard and Arapahoe Road, in Centennial.

But you can all live vicariously through me, at least until Monday, because I somehow managed to weasel my way into a pre-opening-tour this morning that was pure, unabashed, unapologetic food porn with a plot.

Sure, there's plenty of what you already expect from the upscale food market whose buzz words and catchphrases -- organic, local, sustainable, natural, wild-caught, aquaculture, animal compassion and healthy well-being -- remind you of why you can't be seen at Safeway (oh, the guilt!), but this Whole Foods -- all 51,000-square-feet of it-- is raising the bar even further.

"We've got 1,800 local items in just grocery alone at this store, plus an old-fashioned butcher and an interactive fish-fileting station where we'll hand-cut, marinate, season, steak or season your fish however you'd like it," says regional marketing coordinator Ben Friedland.

"Butchering is a lost art," meat coordinator Dave Ruedlinger told us, "but we're bringing it back to this store. We've even got old-fashioned meat rails where we're rolling the beef in, and, of course, we'll do custom cuts."

It's what Friedland likes to call theater. "We're introducing all sorts of interactive areas in this store to open up a dialogue between our customers and team leaders, while holding true to the store's core values of promoting health, high quality natural and organic foods and the well being of the community," says Friedland.

But even without the theater, this Whole Foods is definitely an impressive stage, one that allots 64 feet of space just for your pet, which is about 58 more feet than at any other Whole Foods. There's eight varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars that'll be brought in from California and Italy, respectively, and will be stored in silver barrels with spouts, so that customers only need to buy as much as they need. "These are olive oils that will light up your world," promises grocery coordinator Todd Overstreet.

For some, maybe. But for me, it's all about the cheeses, upwards of 400 mellow wheels, stink bombs and everything in between, including a locally produced Haystack Mountain green chile, Jack and goat cheese that's only sold at this Whole Foods store, and a Wisconsin-produced cheddar with bacon that I'd really like to wallow in.

Maybe I can move in.

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