PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / firstname.lastname@example.org
Foodland chairman and CEO Jenai Wall behind he counter of the new Foodland Farms Ala Moana Center's donut station, one of about a dozen that give shoppers to-go options in addition to traditional full-service grocery goods.
Foodland Super Market Ltd. officially returned to Ala Moana Center this morning with the unveil of its flagship Foodland Farms Ala Moana store following a Hawaiian blessing and grand opening celebration.
The store will donate a portion of sales made during opening week, today through Sept. 6, to Give Aloha, Foodland’s Annual Community Matching Gifts Program. The 47,395-square-foot store is in the Center’s Ewa Expansion, across from Japan Village Walk.
During the grand opening, shoppers will receive Foodland Farms Ala Moana’s new reusable bag with any purchase of $25 or more, while supplies last. The bag features a play on local puns with whimsical designs such as “Kim Cheehoo!” and “Saimin Says!” Maika‘i Card holders can also receive a commemorative Foodland Farms Ala Moana canvas bag for $5 with one My Rewards Certificate. The offer is valid through Sept. 30, 2016.
The store launched a sweepstakes with prizes ranging from $1,000 in free groceries, two $100 Hawaiian Airlines gift cards and five Aloha Gas gift cards. No purchase necessary to enter the sweepstakes continuing through Sept. 6. Visit Foodland.com/AlaMoana to enter.
On Sept. 3, shoppers will be able to earn 400 HawaiianMiles when they redeem one My Rewards
Certificate at Foodland Farms Ala Moana only, with a limit of one per customer.
Charcuterie, cheese and smoked ahi will be offered in the Foodland Farms bar area.
Throughout the week there will be food tastings, product giveaways, cooking demos, keiki activities, and more. Exclusive grand opening specials will also be offered on popular in-store items at Foodland Farms Ala Moana, including king crab legs, Heineken, hot and cold bar items by the pound, Napoli pizza slices, fresh-made donuts, shave ice, and more, highlighting the many food stations that fill the space conceived to be part grocery, part food hall, a "grocerant in keeping with the trend of offering diverse meal options in a grocery setting.
Fresh-made grab-and-go cold-pressed juices, smoothies and fruit-and-vegetable-infused "spa waters" are healthful refreshers.
During a preview event on Monday, Wall said that after closing Foodland prior to the redesign of Ala Moana Center's Ewa Wing, she wasn't intending to return to the mall, but the mall's executives said they would work with the grocer to create the space of their dreams, and what she wanted to introduce was the "next generation Foodland."
Foodland corporate chef Keoni Chang said, "We're staying true to the DNA of Hawaii cuisine, plus introducing what is trending internationally. We've taken things happening in the forefront of metropolitan areas and brought it here."
Foodland corporate chef Keoni Chang stated developing menus for the new store in early March.
Through Foodland's HI Steak brand, hungry diners will find steak and smoked meat plates.
They've partnered with Ono Pops to create new, natural shave ice flavors such as
lemon toffee, and chantilly cake.
They'll be offering fried chicken and chicken of the day with shaker seasonings ranging from habañero to Sriracha to change things up.
They'll be making pizzas with imported Naples 00 flour.
A sandwich station will offer selections from around the world, including Vietnamese banh mi and Cuban pernil and medianoche (pork and pineapple) panini.
They'll also offer charcuterie, housemade Italian sausages and Spanish-style chorizo.
All this has meant intensive training for staff more accustomed to the old way of simply reheating premade foods.
"They had to learn to make pizzas and know what a good pizza is," Chang said. "Sausage making was becoming a lost art. I think customers like to see the art of things, and it's a great time to bring those back."
That meant reschooling himself.
"I think the last time I made sausage was at the Greenbrier 30 years ago, but it's like riding a bicycle, you never really forget."
We joked that what he has to do next is host a Foodland Farms pop-up restaurant. It's a no-brainer, right? They've got all the produce and products, and showcasing them in a dinner and giving people recipes may inspire people to cook more.
Another store plus, a concierge and will call service so that those who purchase groceries can leave them at the store for pick up later, after they've finished shopping the mall.
A central poke bar will feature an array of sushi, musubi and variations on poke, including this one with avocado and truffle oil.
The store is also home to a Sugarfina candy boutique.
The store is the first Foodland with a First store full service kitchen that rivals that of any large restaurant.
Of course it's still a grocery and in addition to whole fruit and veggies, they'll be offering 20 kinds of pre-cut produce daily to streamline the cooking process for DIY eaters.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.