Something that is seriously lacking in my area is a decent grocery store. The primary grocery chain in my area is Jewel. I freaking hate Jewel. I don’t feel I can accurately express my distaste for Jewel without some seriously crude language. I avoid shopping there at all costs, and on the occasions I do end up going there, I leave the store feeling like I’ve just been robbed. Jewel, at least in my area, is over-priced, their produce is especially over-priced. You can pretty much forget about buying anything organic there is you’re on any sort of budget. Their produce is also of very poor quality. On more than one occasion, I’ve found produce in my local Jewel swarming with fruit flies. I think you get the picture. I cannot stand shopping at Jewel.
So, since I moved back to Oak Lawn, I’ve been on the quest to find a worthy grocery store. Trader Joe’s is probably my most favorite store ever. Unfortunately the nearest TJs is a 20 minute in light traffic, and let’s face it, light traffic in the Chicagoland area is pretty much a myth – like unicorns or the Easter Bunny. I was going here regularly, but I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t been able to make the trip. I’m pretty much back to going there for specialty items.
There’s a slew of small “certisaver” grocery stores in my area, but those are generally not very cleanly looking, and I have a serious fixation on the cleanliness of a store. I blame my mother for this as she is the same way. I just cannot buy groceries at a store that does not appear to be clean.
Last week, I checked out the Oak Lawn Fresh Market because Chris’ mom recommended it for it’s produce section. They did have a very nice produce section, and really great prices on their produce; however, their selection of other items was pretty limited. I would more than likely have to go to two stores to get all the items I need regularly. It’s definitely a great option for produce though.
On Friday I discovered a Pete’s Fresh Mart opened about 1.5 miles from my house. I’d never been to a Pete’s before, but I’d heard really great things. I decided to head over there tonight and check it out since I was all but out of produce. (I had one crown of less than fresh broccoli, and half a bag of baby carrots.) Pete’s is pretty much produce mecca!
I took two more pictures, but they both turned out too blurry to even bother posting. Before you even walk into the store, there’s produce for the picking. I already had, a box of clementines and a bag of red potatoes before I set foot in the store.
Once inside, there was more produce than I knew what to do with! Literally, there were vegetables (or may fruits) I’d never even heard of before! It was all beautifully arranged, and everything looked so pleasant and fresh. I wanted to buy it all!
I ended up leaving with mixed greens, dandelion greens, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, pears, clementines, red potatoes, bell peppers, a cantaloupe, bananas, avocados, jicama, and probably a couple other items I’ve forgotten about.
Seriously, I could LIVE in the produce section at Pete’s.
The rest of the store was impressive as well. They had a great variety, and everything was well stocked. There were a lot of ethnic and specialty items. I got the stuff I needed to make miso soup.
The only downside is while their produce prices are fantastic, I’m not sure their other items are that much cheaper than Jewel. It’s not too big of a deal though as I buy more produce than anything else. I also tend to buy things like cereal, granola bars, etc. at Target as they seem to have the best prices on that stuff.
Regardless of that negative, I think I’ve found grocery store love. Now if only the could get NuVal into Pete’s. I’d truly be in heaven.