The new owners of Fiesta have opened their first refurbished store, revealing the direction they’ll be taking the chain. I’ve always found Fiesta to be a fun shopping experience; the two closest to me are mediocre and I seldom go but I frequently go to the big Bellaire/Hillcroft store and the one on S. Main @ Kirby. I have been concerned what the new owners would do so I went over to check it out. Plus, I like exploring new grocery stores.
I had been to this store twice in the past and liked it. Tho much smaller it was more like the Bellaire/Hillcroft store than the S. Main store, with several places to eat inside, as I recall.
As I drove up the first thing I noticed was the somewhat muted colors of the Fiesta logo. The parking lot has been completely resurfaced and all the shopping carts are new. I neglected to really look at the colors inside but my impression is that they are somewhat muted, too.
Just inside the door is La Comida Fiesta, a steam table eatery (I think the only tables and chairs are outside where there is also a tin-roofed stand that looks like it has barbecue smokers in it - it wasn’t in operation). Some of the food looked good. i remember about 15-20 years ago, all the Fiestas, including even the smallest one near me, had such a steam table operation but they pulled them all out and brought in fast food stands (mostly, Church’s Fried Chicken that I’ve seen). I’m glad to see the steam table return. In front of the steam table section is a display of bakery items which was actually rather small. I don’t remember seeing any other bakery display throughout the store so that’s a bit of a disappointment.
The produce department is probably a little larger but looks a lot larger; in fact the whole store, though it actually hasn’t been enlarged, feels much more spacious. I saw a couple of items in the produce section that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before but can’t remember the names and everything in the produce department looked good. That’s one of the main reasons I don’t shop at the Fiestas near me - variable and often poor quality produce. Towards the back of the produce section is a stand where there is a lady stripping cactus leaves and bagging up the stripped paddles or cutting them into strips. I’ve only seen that before at the Bellaire/Hillcroft store. That stand also included some store prepared takeaway items including entrees, sides, and tortas, plus some brand name items and lots of juices.
The meat department is large and impressive. Meats are displayed as they are in a caniceria, stacked up against the glass of the front of the display case instead of splayed out on a sloping shelf. There was a well stocked seafood department; I got some Jeri’s oysters (shucked - haven’t tried them yet).
I do enjoy exploring new grocery stores and I enjoyed the visit very much; the staff was all very friendly. I won’t be driving all the way over there to do my shopping, but I am greatly relieved about the new ownership. Of course, that Bellaire/Hillcroft store is iconic and they better be careful with that one ,
It’s been announced that the larger/better of the two stores near me, on S. Fondren @ W. Bellfort, will be expanding. They’re taking over the space next door. I presume, though it hasn’t be explicitly stated so far as I know, that this will also entail refurbishing the whole store and bringing it inline with the new look and features. If so, I’ll probably be shopping there a lot more in the future.