After a two year hiatus since their departure in December 2014 from Ala Moana Center as one of the original tenants, Foodland is back, reinvented, reinvigorated, and well, re-EVERYTHING! The Sullivan company originally introduced their Foodland Farms concept at Mauna Lani on the Big Island in 2007, then at the Aina Haina store in 2010. This, kinda’ sorta’ taking on the Whole Foods rustic, countryside “look & feel”, while expanding further on the full service food concept.
The millennial term “Grocerant” certainly applies here, as along with the usual — and not so usual — groceries, meat and produce you’ll find at any other Foodland, a considerable portion of its entire floor plan is dedicated to interactive food service. Including stations for fresh-made poke and sushi, hot and cold deli items, specialty sandwiches, baked goods, pizza, ice cream, shave ice, juice and much, much more. Add to that the company’s own The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, HI STEAKS, and probably the most interesting centerpiece of all, the R. Field Wine Bar. The latter of which appears to already be a popular hangout. It’s like, “Hey Lehua, wanna’ hit Mai Tai’s after work?”, and she replies, “Nah. Let’s hang out at the new Wine Bar in Foodland!” lol
Foodland Farms Ala Moana Facts & Features
- 47,395 square feet space opened August 31, 2016 underneath Nordstrom’s on the street level of the Ewa wing, across Shirokiya’s also new Japan Village Walk
- Seating for up to 100 people
- The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
- HI STEAKS, featuring grilled sirloin steak and smoked meat (takeout style)
- R. Field Wine Bar, serving wine by the glass, international beers on tap, and a selection of haute appetizers to go with it
- Poke station, featuring Poke Bowls, Poke Rolls and Sushi
- Bubbie’s Mochi Ice Cream station
- Shave Ice station
- Chicken Shack
- Grill station
- Sandwich station, featuring quality Boar’s Head deli meats and cheese
- Naples-style Pizza station (baked on site)
- European-style Rotisserie
- Upgraded Bakery, overseen by Pastry Chef Rick Chang (Roy’s and Halekulani alumni)
- Donut station
- Juice Bar
- Full service butcher and fishmonger, featuring house-made sausages and specialty meat cuts
- Grocery items (same selection as other Foodland stores) honor all the “Maikai” savings and sale prices as advertised in their print ads (it’s not higher at this location)
- Over 10 checkouts, including an express checkout queue
- Will Call Service: unique to this store, full-time concierge on duty will hold your groceries while you shop elsewhere in the mall, while there are also 15-minute Will Call parking stalls in front of the store to pick up your groceries when you’re done shopping
While the new Safeway stores on Oahu blew me away in appearance and execution, my jaw was DROPPED the entire time I walked through Foodland Farms Ala Moana for the first time, which was last Tuesday. And even on a work week day, the place was PACKED.
Immediate words that come to mind upon the first tour? Wow. Amazing. Awesome. Chic. Cool. Modern. Hip… and most of all, HUNGRY!
Gotta’ give Foodland’s Executive Chef Keoni Chang and the entire team kudos on the floor plan, as it’s so inviting and logical, making it easy to navigate around the space, where even without using the map shown above, I never once felt lost or couldn’t find what I was looking for.
And the architectural design of the interior space couldn’t be better. Thanks in part to the ambient lighting, it gives off a feeling of being contemporary and “chic” (as said), yet comfortable, relaxing, and, save for maybe the wine bar, not pretentious at all.
In other words, it still feels and smells like the Foodland we all know, just simply kicked up major notches, providing a sensory overload that’s surprisingly, well, not an overload, but pleasantly exciting. Everywhere you turn and look, you’re like “Oooh, I wanna’ try this!… and that!.. and that!” If you go foodie “ga ga” crazy like that in stores like Whole Foods, Costco and right across the parking lot at Shirokiya’s Japan Village Walk, you’ll be doing lots more of that at Foodland Farms Ala Moana, guaranteed.
Of course the wonderful folks who work there add to the feeling of aloha spirit and magic to this special store, as every staff member there who I encountered greeted me with a smile, especially the folks at the checkout, whom in my numerous experiences now, they were always very warm, friendly and conversational.
The best part is, aside of the gourmet food items that appear marked-up high in margin, the “regular” grocery items you see in the print ads all have the same “Maikai Savings” prices here that you’ll find at any other Foodland store. That alone makes it great that I can do all my supermarket shopping once again right here at “Ala Mo’s”, all at a reasonable price, “boutique mall mark-up” need not apply!
While I haven’t done it myself yet, I hear there’s this really cool feature at the R. Field Wine Bar, where you can basically grab anything you want in the store, such as that slice of pizza or poke bowl from said stations, or even merchandise such as, say, a wedge of gourmet cheese and/or fresh grapes to enjoy with your glass of wine or beer, and they’ll simply add it as part of your tab there. Nice!
I’ve already eaten at HI STEAKS in there not once, but twice, having a mostly favorable “3 SPAM Musubi” experience, while I also tried one of the Boar’s Head Deli Sandwiches, which was pretty good as well. I’ll eventually make my way through all the quick-bite stations and of course that “epic” R. Field Wine Bar, so I can join “Lehua” and her friends and be part of the “Hipster Foodland Home’ez”. lol
Also surprisingly pleasant (at least so far) is the ease of finding parking right in front of the store, as it seems this part of the Ewa Wing of Ala Moana are mostly “transient parkers”. Meaning customers who are mostly coming and going due to the nature of shopping at a supermarket and/or simply just grabbing a bite to eat there or right across at Shirokiya’s Japan Village Walk. I always found a stall right in front Foodland Farms almost immediately upon someone leaving, never having to wait or circle around and around.
Enough of the verbal hype. Let’s now take a photographic walk around the new digs…
Sugarfina: Jamaican Rum Snowballs, Maple Bourbon Caramels and Matcha Green Tea Caramels; these are just a few of MANY more candy ball flavors that you can mix ‘n match to create your own cubical-modular Sugarfina “Bento” Box
This is looking towards Shirokiya’s Japan Village Walk from the entrance of Foodland Farms, across the street level parking lot at the far end of the Ewa Wing of Ala Moana Center; if you’re driving, it’s best to enter from Piikoi Street, across Hokua Tower (where KHON2 News Room is)
Of course pictures won’t do it complete justice. You really have to go there and see it for yourself… the new Foodland Farms in Ala Moana is jaw-dropping AWESOME!
Foodland Farms Ala Moana
Ala Moana Center at the Ewa Wing, on the street level below Nordstrom’s, right across the parking lot from Shirokiya’s Japan Village Walk
The Tasty Island rating:
(10 SPAM Musubi) OFF THE CHARTS AWESOME!
• Foodland Farms Ala Moana – Yelp user reviews
• 5 Reasons Foodies Will Love Foodland Farms at Ala Moana – Honolulu Magazine
• Foodland Farms Ala Moanaa Grand Opening – KHON2 News
• New Foodland Farms Ala Moana: What You’ll See – Frolic Hawaii
The Tasty Island links:
• HI STEAKS @ Foodland Farms Ala Moana
• Da’ Best Hawaiian Local Style Beef Stew (by Foodland Executive Chef Keoni Chang)
• Foodland’s New ‘Musubi’ Reusable Eco Bag
• Foodland’s New ‘Musubi’ Hot Cold Eco Bag