I visited the trendy grocery store that inspired Anavrin in season 2 of 'You.' Here's how the high-end market in the show compares to the real thing.
The second season of Netflix's "You" takes place in Los Angeles, California. A majority of the show's events unfold at the high-end grocery store Anavrin, which is said to have been inspired by a real Los Angeles market called Erehwon. Insider spoke with Erehwon's vice president of store development, Jason Widener, about some of the ways in which the organic grocery store is similar to the fictional Anavrin. Warning: Spoilers ahead for season two of Netflix's "You." Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
The second season of Netflix's "You" takes place in Los Angeles, California, where Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) gets a new job working in the book department of a trendy grocery store known as Anavrin. In the show, Anavrin is a high-end food market owned by the Quinn family and operated by siblings Love (Victoria Pedretti) and Forty Quinn (James Nicholas Scully). The fictional grocery store's shelves are stocked with plenty of green juices and organic produce as an ode to Los Angeles' health and wellness culture. While Anavrin is fictional, it seems to have been inspired by a real health-conscious grocery store chain in Los Angeles called Erewhon, which has become popular thanks to its wide selection of organic, local, and sustainable foods. I stopped by the Erewhon location in Venice Beach, California, to see how it compares to Anavrin. Anavrin is the high-end grocery store featured in season two of Netflix's thriller series "You."
The new season is based in Los Angeles, California, and Anavrin is where a majority of the show's plot unfolds. Hoping to escape his dark past, Joe Goldberg leaves New York City and moves to Los Angeles. He attempts to start fresh by changing his name to Will Bettelheim (a stolen identity) and landing a new job in the book department at Anavrin. The grocery store is also where Joe meets Love, who becomes the new object of his obsession. The store's health-conscious aesthetic contributes to the show's portrayal of Los Angeles stereotypes.
There's a common stereotype that Angelenos are all extremely health-conscious, based on the abundance of organic grocery stores and vegan-friendly restaurants in the city. In "You," Anavrin is depicted as a classic LA grocery store that sells everything from organic produce to detox juice cleanses. "[California grocery stores are] a pristine, non-GMO Disneyland, and king among these is Anavrin," Joe says in the show as he's on his way to apply for a job at the store. "Come for the spring lettuce mix, and stay for the perfect life that could be yours if you just spend enough and quit gluten, you f---ing a--hole." Although some of the show's depictions of the Los Angeles lifestyle may seem dramatic, Anavrin is not too far off from what a grocery store in the city is really like.
Grocery stores filled to the brim with organic foods and health supplements are not uncommon in Los Angeles. Anavrin appears to have been inspired by a real Los Angeles grocery store called Erehwon Market.
Fans of "You" have taken to Twitter to point out the similarities between Anavrin and the healthy grocery store chain, Erewhon, which has become popular thanks to its wide selection of organic, local, and sustainable foods. The name Anavrin spelled backwards is "Nirvana," which fans have noticed is similar to Erewhon.
Anavrin spelled backwards is "nirvana," while Erewhon flipped around is a misspelling of "nowhere." Although the fact that it doesn't spell "nowhere" correctly is a bit confusing, vice president of store development Jason Widener, told The Hollywood Reporter that the name Anavrin is "totally a take on Erewhon." I stopped by Erewhon to look for other ways in which the organic grocery store is similar to the fictional Anavrin.
I visited the Erewhon grocery store in Venice Beach, California, on a Tuesday afternoon around lunchtime. It was pretty busy, and there were cars lined up down the block to make their way inside the parking lot, which offers valet service. I noticed that Anavrin and Erewhon both offer several aisles of natural and organic foods.
Like Anavrin, Erewhon boasts a wide selection of organic and natural foods. The trendy store is even a popular grocery spot for stars like Kourtney Kardashian and Jessica Biel. My first impression of Erewhon was that it looked like a high-end Whole Foods. Both stores offer organic items, but Erewhon takes the word "healthy" to a new level. Its shelves were stocked with things I've never seen in a grocery store before, including bone broths, medicinal mushrooms, and CBD tonics. Erewhon has hot and cold food bars, where fresh meals are constantly being prepared. This reminded me of the way that Love was frequently cooking at Anavrin.
As an aspiring chef, Love is often seen cooking up delicious meals for her friends. In one episode, she even makes Joe her home-cooked roasted chicken using Anavrin's kitchen. Similarly, the food bar at Erewhon offered healthy options like roasted chicken, zucchini pasta, lemon-drizzled kale salad, and grilled salmon. The cafe at Erewhon was stocked with fresh baked goods.
In the show, Love left plenty of baked goods in Joe's locker as a way to seemingly win him over. At Erewhon, the cafe was stocked with vegan options that included doughnuts, muffins, and other pastries. One section of Erewhon featured a variety of cold-pressed juices. I noticed a bottle of celery juice, which reminded me of Joe's failed attempt at a cleanse.
In another episode, Gabe (Charlie Barnett) recommends that Joe does a "quick, seven-day cleanse" to help speed up the process of finding himself, which leads to Joe purchasing celery juice from Anavrin. Erewhon also sold celery juice, and according to the benefits listed, it's meant to encourage thyroid cleansing, support the nervous system, and lower blood pressure. In the show, Joe goes to Anavrin for Moon Juice in the midst of a scary acid trip. To my surprise, Erewhon was stocked with plenty of it.
At one point in season two of "You," Forty slips acid into Joe's drink without him knowing. The next day, as he's piecing together the timeline of events, viewers learn that Forty instructed Joe to purchase some Moon Juice from Anavrin. I asked one of the nutritionists working at Erewhon what Moon Juice actually does and why it's so popular. I was told that it contains a combination of herbal supplements that promise to do things like enhance natural beauty, energy, and stamina. I also learned that Moon Juice is typically sold in the form of a powder that can be mixed into drinks. Jason Widener, the vice president of store development at Erewhon, told Insider that customers can't stop talking about the similarities between the market and Anavrin.
"Everyone talks about it," Widener said. "I mean a lot of customers bring it up, they're like 'Hey did you know? Have you heard about this?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, it's got to be Erewhon.'" Widener has not watched "You," but he can see why a store like Erewhon would serve as the inspiration for the show's LA-based grocery store.
Widener agrees that Anavrin was likely inspired by Erewhon because of the way that it embodies the wellness culture in Los Angeles. Erewhon has become one of the go-to markets in Los Angeles for the health-conscious consumer, offering products that fit diets ranging from plant-based to gluten-free. The grocery store even has doctors, nutritionists, and herbalists on-site to help customers learn about products. "We want to teach people about this," Widener said. "We're here to really teach you and build a culture where we're holding each other accountable, and hopefully increasing our bond as a community through food." "Ten years ago it wasn't that cool to be healthy. It was more of a necessity." Widener said. "Now, being healthy is cool, and we're all more educated about the true power of food."
Despite Erewhon's recent Instagram fame, the health food chain has been around since the mid-1960s, and was first established in Boston, Massachusetts. The store's co-founder, Michio Kushi, was a macrobiotic doctor and natural food advocate who believed in world peace and studied utopian books. "He just believed that through food, we could change the world," Widener said. "Through food, we can bring the community together, and we can have more sustainable agriculture." Tony and Josephine Antoci purchased Erewhon in 2011. Today, the grocery store has locations in Los Angeles and its surrounding areas, including Calabasas, Venice, Santa Monica, and Pacific Palisades. Widener explained that Erewhon has very high standards when it comes to the products placed on its shelves.
"We have things that you just can't find everywhere else. Our products come from a lot of local brands and very passionate, health-obsessed people," Widener said. Erewhon's website also makes its high standards clear, listing ingredients that it claims will never be found in the products on the store's shelves. Some of the ingredients listed include high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, and artificial flavors and colors. While Erewhon may have inspired the grocery store in "You," Widener told Insider that no scenes were actually filmed at the market.
Widener said that he "didn't know" Erewhon would serve as the inspiration for Anavrin prior to the release of the second season on Netflix. Some scenes from the second season of "You" were filmed at another grocery store in Los Angeles called Urban Radish.
Urban Raddish is a family-owned food market in downtown Los Angeles. The exterior of the building was featured extensively throughout season two, but the interior only appeared a couple of times at the beginning of the season. I visited the Urban Raddish location in downtown Los Angeles to see how it compared to the scenes from the show.
The storefront was lacking plants and decor, but it still resembled the grocery store from "You." I recognized some familiar spots from the show once I stepped inside the grocery store ...
The interior of Urban Raddish reminded me of the earlier episodes in season two of "You." ... Including the shelves located behind Love and Joe when they first met.
Joe and Love met in the aisles of Anavrin while Love was grocery shopping. In the first episode, Love was seen picking produce out of baskets in one of the aisles.
The produce department looked spacious and was filled with plenty of fruit and vegetables. The produce at Urban Raddish was organized in woven baskets just like in Anavrin.
The grocery store's produce section was smaller than I expected it to be. Although "You" was filmed at one Los Angeles grocery store, it's clear that Anavrin was inspired by another market in the city.
While the storefront and aisles of Urban Raddish were ideal for filming, the store as a whole does not match the upscale, health-conscious scene in Los Angeles that "You" was trying to portray. Erewhon's high-end vibe and wellness culture seem to be a better match for what it would really be like to shop at Anavrin.
Read more: 20 details in season 2 of 'You' that you may have missed 20 ways the 'You' TV series is different from the book 10 things you probably didn't know about Penn Badgley 8 things 'You' got wrong about bookstores, according to experts