[All photos courtesy of Alissa Walker, Unbeige]
Today marked the opening of Tesco's Fresh & Easy flagship store on Hollywood Boulevard. Friend of Curbed (FOCer) Alissa Walker, also of Unbeige, attended the opening, cash in hand ready to shop, shop, shop. She also carried a camera on our behalf to capture the joy, the pain, the humanity of Hollywood's newest grocery store. Good lord, the place was a zoo of crazies and loonies. Sadly, Chewbacca was not in attendance.
"I got there right at 10am, the official opening time, but it seemed as if they'd been open for awhile. Amidst the curious tourists and LA Fitness members post-workout, there were a high percentage of suits milling about like someone was leading a field trip from the TV Guide building across the street. One guy in a tie with white hair was babbling with such urgency on his cell phone it as was as if he was phoning in a spotting to TMZ. "You gotta get over here! You should see the produce!"
Of course, this being Hollywood Boulevard, there were celebrities, of a sort. BFFs (who knew?) Paris and Marilyn were greeting shoppers at the door, where Marilyn was welcoming the crowds with offers of free coffee and sleeping pills. Later Paris was seen wheeling Marilyn around in a cart, and when she was asked if she found Fresh & Easy to be affordable, she smiled sweetly and said, "I don't really look at the prices." Jack Sparrow checked the expiration dates on some free-range organic eggs but passed on the samples of peanut butter cookies.
It's hard to believe this spot has sat empty for so long as it's a rather pleasant little courtyard once you get down in it. You hardly know you're in Hollywood, or, for that matter, below a venue that will be featuring a band called the Chemikillz later tonight. A nice outdoor seating area will also serve the tourists nicely as well since it will be a great place for weary capri-wearing Midwesterners to break into their ready-to-eat offerings. Same goes for all the F&E reports you've heard: nicely-branded products, a nice curation of offerings, the store is bright, with very wide aisles and extremely helpful employees, all dressed in green shirts. Can't comment on parking since I walked but here's a nice touch: 80% of the checkout lanes are self-service and since I brought my own bags I was concerned it would get all messed up, but the machines actually ask if you're using your own! Brilliant! The only bummer for us lushes is that there's no alcohol at this location because they aren't allowed to compete with the Longs Drugs upstairs. So no Tesco Two Buck Chuck or whatever it is."-Alissa Walker