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Tasty Tuesdays: Best Austin Grocery Store

22 June 2010 2,614 views 28 Comments
Austin is kind of a grocery store mecca. Just consider that:
  • Whole Foods Market started in Austin almost 30 years ago — and is home to the corporate headquarters and flagship store.
  • Central Market opened it’s first store here — on North Lamar in 1994.
  • Wheatsville Co-op is the only retail consumer food co-op in Texas and its right here in Austin!

grocery store checkout retro

Others in town include HEB, Randalls, Fiesta, Royal Blue Grocery, Asia Market, Fresh Plus, MT Supermarket, Newflower, Sprouts, Sun Harvest, and more.

Last week alone, I visited the Triangle Farmers Market, Central Market, Whole Foods, HEB, Randalls, and the Downtown Austin Farmer’s Market — all in five days. That, and spending time with my friend Carla who has challenged herself to go for a year without shopping at a grocery store (she can do Farmer’s Markets though) got me thinking about the many grocery stores I visit.

What is your favorite grocery store and/or what tips about  grocery shore shopping would you like to share?

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  • lisaiscooking

    I spend an inordinate amount of time in grocery stores. If I have to pick one favorite, it will be Whole Foods. I like that I can trust the products sold there. I always read labels anyway, but I never find trans fats, nasty chemical preservatives, or HFCS there. CM is great too, but they're not as careful about ingredients in everything they sell. Of course, I rely on all the smaller markets for random, hard to find things.

  • lisaiscooking

    I spend an inordinate amount of time in grocery stores. If I have to pick one favorite, it will be Whole Foods. I like that I can trust the products sold there. I always read labels anyway, but I never find trans fats, nasty chemical preservatives, or HFCS there. CM is great too, but they're not as careful about ingredients in everything they sell. Of course, I rely on all the smaller markets for random, hard to find things.

  • http://twitter.com/SummerH Summer Huggins

    I love Central Market's meat counter, but 95 percent of the time I find myself at the Escarpment HEB. It's not your regular ol' HEB. It's a hybrid of sorts — part HEB and part CM, with a great prepared-food section, beautiful produce and fresh flowers areas, and nice bakery. There are weeks when I find myself in there three or four times…

  • Breanna

    Central Market on N. Lamar, hands down. I just love going there; they have lovely produce and all the selection I need. The Cafe and occasional live music are great, too!

  • http://www.stetted.com Megan Myers

    I don't buy much at the grocery stores anymore, but when I do I try to go to Wheatsville. Overall they might not compare to CM or Whole Foods in terms of selection, but their *local* selection is fantastic.

  • jodibart

    Whole Foods is great. I always feel healthier just being inside that store!

  • jodibart

    You are the second person to recommend that particular HEB location. Alas – not in my hood!

  • jodibart

    It's so fun to visit that Central Market for their live music. I've been many a time to go dancing and love watching the kiddies get down right in front of the band. Also, CM has a WONDERFUL chocolate bar selection and their sushi rocks too.

  • jodibart

    Good call, Megan. Wheatsville is a great place to shop and the re-do makes it even nicer :-)

  • jodibart

    Whole Foods is great. I always feel healthier just being inside that store!

  • jodibart

    You are the second person to recommend that particular HEB location. Alas – not in my hood!

  • jodibart

    It's so fun to visit that Central Market for their live music. I've been many a time to go dancing and love watching the kiddies get down right in front of the band. Also, CM has a WONDERFUL chocolate bar selection and their sushi rocks too.

  • jodibart

    Good call, Megan. Wheatsville is a great place to shop and the re-do makes it even nicer :-)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6KQQAZ3U6Q4YC6EDGCVINVZIQE tpon

    The Escarpment HEB format is also in place in Westlake (360/Bee Caves) and Bee Caves (Bee Caves/Hwy 71)… that said, I am also currently adoring Newflower Market in Bee Caves… it is tiny, so week to week selection varies, but I love the small, neighborhood feel. The produce lasts for a while, and the “weekly circular” deals can be quite good.

  • http://lazysmurf.wordpress.com/ lazysmurf

    I go to every grocery store for one reason or another but I would have to say Wheatsville has my heart, they have everything I need in a tiny store, great deli, local produce, friendly people, excellent deli. The only part that I have a problem with is that it isn’t on the south side!

  • Christof

    I enjoy Sun Harvest on Anderson. The produce is exceptionally cheap with a good selection of organic and natural foods. Good prices on seafood and natural chicken as well. I also enjoy the atmosphere which feels like a mom-and-pop store.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/ZXF32HJRZTACSK3HG3UJT5XP5I Eli

    Whole Foods downtown. I know it's predictable and maybe lacks a little charm, but that place just rocks. More good food under one roof than anywhere I've ever been.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/ZXF32HJRZTACSK3HG3UJT5XP5I Eli

    Whole Foods downtown. I know it's predictable and maybe lacks a little charm, but that place just rocks. More good food under one roof than anywhere I've ever been.

  • jodibart

    Two votes for Escarpment HEB! If I'm ever in the Hill Country, I'll have to make a stop ;-)

  • jodibart

    Wheatsville definitely makes me happy. They are the only place that sells the soap that Adam likes so we recently bought like 8 bars (its the oatmeal kind). Also, they have a corkscrew pasta tempeh salad that is like crack to me.

  • jodibart

    I agree, Christof. When I lived in the area, I used to shop there all the time. Love their produce deals (I've seen restaurant owners load up there b/c it's so reasonable) and their bulk section makes me swoon!

  • jodibart

    It's awesome. Best part is that you can try ANYTHING in that store. Just ask. It's amazing.

  • jodibart

    How did I not mention MT Supermarket? http://www.mtsupermarket.com/. Adam and I went last night and bought so much stuff without spending the kind of money we would even at HEB. Their produce is AMAZING and I'm still marveling at the huge bunches of herbs we picked up for less than 50 cents each. Go there!

  • jodibart

    How did I not mention MT Supermarket? http://www.mtsupermarket.com/. Adam and I went last night and bought so much stuff without spending the kind of money we would even at HEB. Their produce is AMAZING and I'm still marveling at the huge bunches of herbs we picked up for less than 50 cents each. Go there!

  • guest

    I like the fresh bread from the bakery in HEB on South Congress at Oltorf, but don't like their produce and wouldn't dare buy anything from their meat counter. Recently, I noticed unusually low prices on navel oranges and voiced my wonderment out loud. A nearby shopper looked at me with a half grin and said. “It's because they're bad.” Sure enough, more than half the oranges I bought had rotten spots. Even more recently, I bought some white flesh nectarines which were about half off. They had great color, felt firm, and I reasoned that at about $1.30 a pound, HEB wouldn't be dumping it's garbage. Wrong again – every single nectarine was bad – rotten around the pit with discoloration throughout. So, I'm curious. Is the South Congress store HEB's only dumping grounds for rotten produce, or is this common at their other stores?

  • jodibart

    yuck! I used to go to that HEB and I didn't think their produce was very good. The HEB at Hancock Center where I go now is much better. However, in general, all of the companies best produce goes to the Central Market stores.

  • jodibart

    yuck! I used to go to that HEB and I didn't think their produce was very good. The HEB at Hancock Center where I go now is much better. However, in general, all of the companies best produce goes to the Central Market stores.

  • jodibart

    yuck! I used to go to that HEB and I didn't think their produce was very good. The HEB at Hancock Center where I go now is much better. However, in general, all of the companies best produce goes to the Central Market stores.