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Best Thing to Happen in Berkeley This Millennium 

Berkeley Bowl West

It's here. After seven years of planning, the Bowl has headed west, opening a decidedly industrial second location with a 140,000-square-foot natural-foods grocery emporium. The best thing: There's free parking, plenty of it, including a parking lot and a multilevel parking garage. And customers and employees — now less stressed out about the ugly parking issue — seem happier. The inside setup mimics components of the Oregon Street Bowl with W-I-D-E-R aisles and a front-and-center health products center, but this spiffy-clean warehouse-ish newcomer is more fun to explore since now you're not blocking anyone's reach. Of course it's full of produce items you've never seen before, plus a sea of heirloom tomatoes and mountains of stone fruit. There's a gleaming deli case with prepared items too good to resist, including decadent desserts. Other attractions: Cheeses galore. Major meat, fine fish, and plenty of poultry. Organic this, organic that. Bulk food bins brimming with nuts, dried fruits, and arborio rice. More space for adult beverages. With its easy access to Interstate 80, high-caliber contents, and dandy digs, it's easy to see why the second location of Earth's Best Grocery is already attracting crowds. But it can handle 'em.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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