[Houston] Avocados 12.5¢ ea., bell peppers 25¢ ea., limes 3¢ ea., sweet potatoes 20¢/lb., pork spareribs .67/lb. -- Joe V's opening week is crazy-busy!

Made my first trip to a Joe V’s. They had two overflow parking lots (unpaved) full. Absolutely nuts, but the produce looked very nice, they had a surprising amount of meats and cheeses, some fresh cakes and of course tortillas, and a fairly good selection of packaged goods (although more limited than an HEB Pantry even). Prices were lower than at HEB, even, for identical items.

I’ve read that HEB is positioning Joe V.s to compete with Aldi’s - I would say this is much better than Aldi’s - a little bigger, but much better selection including HEB brands plus some national brands and produce looks much nicer.

How do Joe V’s hold up after a year or so? Stores still kept nice?

Weekly circular (you have to select the location - N. Fry one is different than the others right now):


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I have been only once, several years ago, about 6 months after the one on W. Bellfort near Fondren opened. My take was very different that yours but maybe they’ve upped their game. The produce department was a mess, which is not uncommon at HEB stores in my experience. I don’t care for ‘warehouse’ shopping anyway and don’t need to buy things in bulk. I picked up a 1/2 G of ice cream, either Blue Bell or HEB’s Creamy Creations knockoff, that was only 3/4 full. I stood in line for about 20 minutes to check out.

Parking lot is usually very full when I drive by occasionally. Neighborhoods right around are both heavily Jewish and there’s a synagogue across the street, but no Kosher food. Poorer neighborhoods, which I thought this brand was for, are off to the south.

Will try to get back down there to see if things have changed in the years since but, as you may have noticed from this post or from reading other posts on this board about grocery shopping in Houston, I’m not a total fan of HEB. Fortunately, I’ll be gone probably by the time they come to dominate Houston like they do SA and Austin and all of S. Texas. I’m sure they put the store there to try and drive the Fiesta across the street out of business, but it hasn’t worked yet. I like some Aldi store brands, also some HEB, but not all of either.

PS re your headline - I remember when the Pantry store on Bissonnett @ Gessner opened in '92 - Now that was a good, very small, store. Opening week prices were insane. I remember the guys in the Blue Bell uniforms just handing out the cartons from the boxes directly to the shoppers - they didn’t have time to fill up the freezer cases.

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Near the new Joe V’s are two Dollar General/Family Dollar type stores and some convenience stores sell some groceries (for a huge markup I’m sure). Other than that, there are 2 African markets and my beloved El Rancho that’s one of my main stops. I assume the African markets won’t be affected much, and maybe El Rancho is just enough established and just far away enough to be ok, but the dollar stores and c-stores will be in for a rocky ride. And I take it things are fairly chaotic at dollar stores already…

But that does make me wonder if they will let things slide at Joe V’s (3/4 full ice cream carton - wtf!) to keep costs low enough to drive out the dollar stores.

I bought 3 items at Joe Vs (Silk soy milk, honey, and coffee) where the exact same items at HEB would’ve cost me a total of $5 more just for those 3 things. They must have intricate super-detailed data and maps to figure out whether they are cannibalizing their own stores or not - that would also explain not having Kosher foods in a store that’s basically in Meyerland!

At least this week, though, some pretty produce there:

I’m probably not going to be posting here much anymore, but I wanted to let you know something… Years ago, some friends and I kept a spreadsheet of places we wanted to try and we had a game where ultimately we’d pick a number on the spreadsheet to “choose” the next adventure. It was a lot of fun, but we also had fun sourcing new places to put on the spreadsheet, and we always looked on Chowhound and a few other websites for people’s comments… and yours and a few others were always ones that we paid special attention to as people ‘in the know’ - an informed and adventurous eater in our city… “brucesw says this is a good place,” we’d note to each other. I would guess we tried quite a few things just on your say-so!

When I saw your handle on this website, it really took me back to a happy time that was made all the happier by the thoughts you were sharing with your friends, without you even knowing about my friends and me (and probably lots of others like us) who were quietly reading along.

Anyway, just wanted to say a much-belated thank you.


That’s awesome

Thank you for those comments. Boy, does that take me back in time, and to a much happier time. We had a good group over there - only know where a couple of them are now. My favorite thread was ‘Try Something New.’ I loved that idea. I wish I could still do that but I wouldn’t last long or be able to sample as much food. I remember hitting multiple taco trucks in an afternoon, driving all over the city to find specialties! These days I more likely am going to be setting out to go visit another retirement place, trying to find a suitable one. Old age ain’t nearly as much fun and excitement as the brochures suggest!

I was so happy to see someone new posting here about Houston and hope you can keep posting. I was hoping a new voice might encourage some other lurker to sign up and start contributing. We left behind a lot of people over there that have never found us here or found something else to do. I try to find all of your posts but don’t always have anything to say as I am so much out of touch with the current scene.

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