Whole Foods shoppers may find a delightful surprise hiding around the corner from the checkout stands. The organic and health food store added The Switchback Bar, a small restaurant/bar, to its store last month.

Whole Food stores around the country are adding small eat-in restaurants with a local flair to their stores, said Desiree Rossel, Whole Foods marketing team leader for the Southern Pacific region.

“A lot of people are pleasantly surprised when they come around the corner from the registers looking for the bathrooms and find The Switchback,” she said. “We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on the food, drinks and prices.”

The Switchback is designed to be a very laid-back, grab a quick lunch or drink after work with friends type locale, she said. It offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options along with meat options and kid-friendly options. Most options on the menu are under $20.

A crowd favorite is the cauliflower nachos with fried cauliflower, chilis, pico de gallo, cilantro, lime and avocado lime crema, Rossel said. Other favorites included the smashed California avocado toast and the rib eye steak with roasted Brussel sprouts and potatoes.

Vegetarians and meat-lovers alike have enjoyed the Beyond Burger made with an organic bun, lettuce, tomato, pickled red onions, vegan cheese and Sriracha aioli. The vegan patty is made with pea protein instead of tofu, Rossel said, which gives it a more meat-like texture.

Also on the menu is pizza, a meat burger, sushi, fish ‘n' chips, salmon, a variety of salads and toasts, and dessert, including a mochi (Japanese ice cream) tasting plate. The bar offers daily specials like oysters, tacos, wine flights, burger and brew for $13 and a happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The bar is stocked with 24 beers, half of which are from Northern Arizona breweries, 12 different wines by the glass and mead by the glass from two local Arizona businesses, Drinking Horn and Superstition Meadery. Most of the wines sell for less than $15 a glass; flights of red or white wine go for $12. Bottled beers go for $4 and the price of draft beers depends on the beer. Mead goes for $7 a glass and $12 for a flight of six one-ounce pours.

The store is also planning several kid and adult-friendly events for the Switchback in the near future. The events will be listed on the store’s website.

The reporter can be reached at sadams@azdailysun.com or (928)556-2253.

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Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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