I live within a block or so of two carriage trade private supermarkets. Excellent produce, real butchers, fresh fish and poultry, all of the premium shelf-stuff you could want. Pricey, but when compared to Safeway and friends, not that much more considering the quality. Free delivery over $50., including last year’s Christmas tree!
Enter Grocery Outlet. Organic produce, dairy, poultry and (grass fed) meat, pastured eggs, our current house wine. The shelves offer an Aladin’s cave of “who’d have thunk it” products at almost free prices, or at least low enough to allow one to try out weird things without guilt. Three Twins, Humboldt and Talenti organic ice cream frequently.
So what’s the problem? We run out of something and instead of trotting around the corner to our “local”, we wait for our weekly GO trip and hope they still have it. And as an equally addicted friend quipped, “Or search GO for a viable substitute!” Quite literally, my life has changed drastically.
Sorry to hear of your dilemma! I have one only about 20 minutes away. I haven’t gone since the kids flew the coop. If so, I’m sure my pantries would be more stuffed than they are!
Pilgrim, it’s probably buried somewhere in the WFD thread, but I haven’t forgotten your request for the homemade trahana; its in my DH’s head and his head is at work now. I’ll get him to dictate it to me & post very soon. I’m going to add it to a Greek cooking thread I started a while back, so please look for it there.
Fascinating. I’ve never heard of them so I had to look them up online. It’s similar in concept to the Ocean State Job Lots we have locally, except that OSJL doesn’t focus on groceries but all sorts of miscellaneous goods. The bigger and better OSJL also have large food sections where overstock name brand or private label foods are sold. I’ve found everything from bargain high end, Valrhona chocolate to just raw turbinado sugar for about half the price of the local grocery store. I do the same and will try to find something I need there (like the time I really needed apple cider vinegar) before I hit the supermarket; for me, thankfully they are not far from each other.
Sounds like a place I would spend way too much time in hunting for bargains, if one were nearby. Alas, the closest one is in PA.
I’ve never found OSJL to be any sort of replacement for a supermarket. I’ve shopped in them in MA and NJ, and have found interesting offbeat stuff, but other than the cherry juice they no longer carry, and the zillion flavors of jams from some monastery, nothing I could rely on.
Reliability is the keystone for (at least my local) GO. Always fresh organic produce, dairy, meat, eggs. Shelf goods vary but always a good selection of pasta, rice, canned beans, tomatoes, fish. Fresh bread and tortillas.
Previously we had a Bargain Bank which was much as you describe. Weird stuff but not possible to fill a market basket. At GO, you can find everything you need for family meals daily.
Yes, definitely not a replacement for a supermarket, but there are certain items that my local OSJL almost always has, so I know to look there for specific items when I need it.
To make a few: any Bob Mills grains, flours & foods, pasta, sugar, jams, tomato sauce, canned sardines. That seem to get a pretty vast array of cookies and snacks too, that I like picking thru. Would love if they could carry produce, but don’t see that happening any time.
When Trader Joe’s started in California in the seventies they were like this. My parents became instant addicts - they went to the one in Eagle Rock. The amazing thing they had (for me) was all these super cheap foreign beers, before every corner store had foreign beers. You could get a six-pack of Tsing Tao in glass bottles for 95 cents IIRC (it might actually have been even less but I know it was less than a dollar) - a 12 oz can of Bud would have gone for 45 cents at that time.
I do like grocery out date for their wine . After eating a two plus year old can of sardines that didn’t turn out well . I always will check the date . I did recently purchase green and blacks chocolate bars for 99 cents. Usually 4.99. Great deal .
Haha, I think I’m an unwitting participant in that game too! It’s tough with expiration dates being all over the place – some that are just jokes, while some you may really want to note that “freshness” date for. Somethings I still wonder – like my buttermilk that is 6 months past it’s date, but I swear it tastes and looks the same. But then what does it taste and look like when it’s truly bad?!
For me, it’s a rare OSJL trip that tallies under $100. I love the quart jars of Belveder Polish Family Salad, which knock wood, is regularly stocked. It’s a vinegar slaw of cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, onion, and charlock (in the mustard family). I doubt I could make it for less than the $2 they charge. I mix it with a little mayo as an alternative to tartar sauce and coleslaw when having seafood. Straight from the jar on hot dogs. And I got my favorite nonstick cast iron skillet and nonstick baking pans there. The only perishables in the OSJLs near me are Portuguese sweet bread loaves and rolls…
(equal opportunity eater in the NC Triangle)
Ah- that explains it! I spoted an OSJL in Ct. when I was up that way two years ago. I remembered the name from food forum mentions. I had no idea what their business model was but had formed an impression that it was primarily food oriented. I think this location must have been one of the quieter locations. It had the feel of a very old and dated Big Lots. The food section covered 3 rather short aisles. I did manage to find some good deals! I’m always up for a good treasure hunt!
I’m sorry it’s ruined your life, but thank you for posting because you inspired me to finally visit the Grocery Outlet near me. It was a quick stop but I found some great deals, $1.99 for a pound of quinoa and $1.49 per dozen large eggs is even cheaper than Trader Joe’s. I often struggle with the shopping experience at TJ and cash flow is low in the summer so I’ll definitely be back to GO for bargain hunting.
Not sure about other cities and states but our new stuff arrives each Tuesday. They tend to have drastic final markdowns on Thursdays
when remainders Of stock get extinguished.
My general understanding is that about 1/2 of stuff is the same thru all stores and the other 1/2 is up to individual stores ordering according to their particular customers
needs and wants.