Lower Greenville’s store is getting a makeover, and that means we get pizza and gelato

Our neighborhood released a collective groan the minute it was suggested that the Whole Foods on Lower Greenville would disappear once the chain’s newest store opens at Park and Greenville.

Now we can breathe a collective sigh of relief. The Lower Greenville store — the fourth built by Whole Foods and the only one left in its original location — will serve the neighborhood for years to come, says Scott Herbert, the store’s assistant team leader. And better yet, it’s expanding.

“We’re still going to be the Old Greenville — the charm will remain,” says store team leader Ada Austin. “This is just bringing us into the modern world.”

Expansion in this case doesn’t refer to the store’s size; it refers to the store’s offerings. By the time this magazine reaches you, the plastic tarps that have been hanging where the coffee bar once stood should have disappeared, and in their place will be a pizza oven and a gelato bar.

The pizza oven, similar to the ovens that can be found at the Highland Park, Preston Forest and Plano locations, will serve up hot, fresh pizza all day long with toppings such as barbecue chicken and veggie mushroom. And the gelato bar — Whole Foods’ first in the metroplex — will feature 18 flavors, all made in-house from scratch. Austin admits she will personally push for a couple of flavors, such as black cherry, but because store employees will make the gelato, “imagination limits us only,” she says. Don’t be surprised to see a flavor such as avocado in the mix.

The expansion also means Lower Greenville will wind up with a hot bar — no more warming up chicken cacciatore in the microwave. Herbert says the store’s prepared foods team leader can’t wait to get started on new breakfast, lunch and dinner options.

“She’s chomping at the bit to put out some new ideas and plans to go full hilt with it when she gets all her new bells and whistles,” he says.

And that’s just phase one. Phase two entails an aisle of refrigerated cases to hold beer (“all beer will be cold from now on,” Herbert says), adding three doors of freezer space for more vegetables and entrées, and placing the wine in racks to create a more inviting area near all the new construction. All of this should be completed by the third week of July, Austin says.

The updates were “a long time coming,” Herbert says. And Austin insists they won’t take away from what customers have grown accustomed to. She made sure to clarify that the massage chair, coffee bar and smoothies aren’t going away, though they will probably be relocated.

After running the Lower Greenville store for five years, she knows the patrons who frequent it, including those who walk to the store, love its neighborhood feel.

“Everybody likes this store. It does have a unique personality all of its own,” Austin says. “We don’t want to change that.”

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