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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, May 26

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Gordon / September 19, 2004 6:39 PM

Lincolnwood Produce is the greatest place ever. But it's soooo faaaar awaaaay.

Shasta MacNasty / September 19, 2004 7:08 PM

"The Jewels", Dominick's, and Roger's Fruit Market for all things Jamaican. Tons of root vegetables, ackee, ox tail, sometimes goat meat (or does mom get that from Bill's in Evanston on Dempster?), salted cod, etc., etc., etc....

Naz / September 19, 2004 7:12 PM

For more "mainstream" stuff, I walk two blocks to the Jewel. However, for a lot of the vegetarian and more harder to get brands, I'm off to Whole Foods, Peoples Market or Trader Joe's. Most of the time, I split groceries between Jewel and Trade Joe's though.

Lately, the Green City Farmer's Market has been supplementing my foodage.

Andrew / September 19, 2004 7:27 PM

Devon Market, the Howard St. Dominick's if I need to.

There's a Caputo's opening on my route home. I can't wait.

amyc / September 19, 2004 7:50 PM

There are two great farmers' markets nearby (Damen & Belle Plaine, Belmont & Wolcott), so between June and October most of our produce comes from there. This morning we got 4 zucchini, 4 tomatoes, a giant ciabatta, a half gallon of cider and a bucket of Honeycrisps for, like, $15.

We get most of the other stuff at Whole Foods, and visit our friendly neighborhood Dominick's for stuff like cat snacks and Listerine.

Steve / September 19, 2004 10:00 PM

Probably about 70 percent Jewel, 30 percent Trader Joe's. Last went to TJ's last Sunday eve, and that store was "shopped," man. They were even out of their very nice Tabula Rasa pizza crusts.

A few weeks back the gal was really hankering for some fish from Whole Foods, so we took the much longer drive to the one in Evanston just to avoid the road and aisle rage that I associate with the Ashland Avenue Whole Foods. And I have to say, the Evanston WF really was pleasant. Mmmmmm, Intelligentsia Black Cat roast....

Steve / September 19, 2004 10:01 PM

Oh yeah -- we failed to hit the North Center farmers' market much this summer. About the only thing we got were lots of cherries, and they turned out to be mushy suckage even at the peak of the season.

christiana / September 19, 2004 11:10 PM

Family Fruit Market on Cicero, just north of Irving. (Mostly because I can buy Kinder Surprise there. Yay Kinder Surprise!) They have an awesome deli there, too.

Hagen's on Central for all my fresh fish needs.

Farmer's market (I usually go to the one in Oak Park, for some odd reason) for all that other jazz.

I was once assaulted at Jewel over a parking space (!) and management did nothing, so I kind of don't like shopping there.

Whole Foods is WAY too expensive, so fuck them.

Trader Joe's sometimes, if I'm in the mood to deal with a crowd. I wish they were open later.

Dominick's is okay, I guess.

blah blah blah.

Cinnamon / September 19, 2004 11:27 PM

Soon my kitchen will be up and running and I can begin exploring all the independent stores and markets along Devon Ave. near Western. Cheap rice and lentils mean that this winter is going to have lotsa stick-to-your-ribs goodness.

vit / September 20, 2004 7:32 AM

Edmar's (only because it is two blocks from my house).
Trader Joes

Screw Whole Foods, except for when I want to by some good quality seafood.

jennifer / September 20, 2004 8:43 AM

i'm an edmar girl. hint for the edmar: never use the express lane. it's the slowest, even if everyone in line has one item.

ksquared / September 20, 2004 8:44 AM

Stanley's for fruits & veggies (they are now open until 10pm)

Trader Joes for cereal, tofu, crackers, soup, dog treats, nuts, dairy, chocolate, wine

Cubs Food for toilet paper, trash bags and blue bags, smuckers all natural peanut butter, skinny cow ice cream sandwiches, and other miscellanous items

Bari foods for meats

I feel that shopping in Chicago is an art. You could find all your grocery needs at "whole pocketbook" but you pay out the butt for it and most of the patrons (I go to the one on North Ave. if I have to go) are snobby and rude.

I did go to a Polish deli for the first time this weekend, we stopped in a whim before going to Bite for dinner. They had fresh bacon that was sliced for our order and a 1/2 lb. was $1.57, which seems really cheap. It is on Western on the west side of the street, close to Augusta?

KT / September 20, 2004 9:10 AM

I buy all my produce at Belmont Produce, on Belmont, just east of Kimball. It is SO CHEAP. I just hope they are paying their employees decent wages, because that is how cheap it is. (You can buy 10 limes for $1, and at Jewel, it is 2 for $1.) They are also good for canned beans, rice, spices and a few Mexican odds and ends, and their meat counter is slightly scary but good. Anything I can't find there, I give in and go to Jewel or Trader Joes.

winterfresh / September 20, 2004 9:15 AM

These shopping spots are unbeatable for the ailing cultural heart that beats inside of me. It starts of on Harlem Ave. First there Caputo's, way south, but a good trip for vegetables and assorted Italian good, going north is Rich's, a Polish billboard for all those daring enough to go in. The girls that work there are beautiful beyond the allowable standard! Okay, enough drool, then there's Butera, they have the cheapest meats, but they're pretty good, and there's two of then nearby. One is on Motrose and Cumberland, and the other Nagle and Gunnison, and Elliott's is right across the street from the one on Nagle, and they're good for something, I'd say the pickles there are inpecible. Jerry's fruit market on Milwaukee near Niles is actually very good for produce, hence fruit market. Aside from all this, you can't disregard the Polish deli's and bakery's dotting the whole northwest side; they alone are a treasure to have.

Steve / September 20, 2004 9:16 AM

What does it mean when a meat counter is slightly scary? Doesn't "slightly scary" easily transfer to food poisoning?

There used to be a carniceria on Montrose just west of Ashland that was extremely scary. The scent of meat was overpowering, even when you were just stopping in to buy a Jarrito.

But the skunkiest grocery store of all time is now gone: the old Jewel at Western and Roscoe. But if we give it a few years, I suspect that the new one they built there will lapse into similar decrepitude....

KT / September 20, 2004 9:20 AM

Sorry Steve, should have been more clear. I meant that to me, it is slightly scary because most of it is in Spanish, I don't speak Spanish, and it is very intimidating to order from them because it is always packed and there is no rhyme or reason.. So far, the quality has been fine.

Mike / September 20, 2004 9:20 AM

I feel a little guilty going to Jewel and Dominicks, which I do 90% of the time. There are so many good delis and smaller places to get produce (farmer's markets and Stanley's), but I don't have time to hop around like that so there's one massive grocery trip every Sunday and that's usually it. Sometimes I'll get out and do the Ceasar's Deli/Sultan's market/Stanley's/Roser's Bakery thing, but it's a time consuming venture.

Alex / September 20, 2004 9:23 AM

Trader Joe's and the neighborhood Cuatro Caminos.

paul / September 20, 2004 9:38 AM

I'll admit the majority of my food and other 'consumables' comes from the nearby Dominick's, but when I'm shopping for just a meal or two I go to an independent market.

Bill's on Dempster in Evanston has a cheap meat counter.

Lincolnwood Produce is one of the best markets in the area, great, varied produce, an awesome deli and butcher counter, plus a huge array of packaged foreign food. You can even find lots of interesting things in the frozen case, like rabbit and whole fish. Devon Market is similiar, but not as big. Diho on Dempster in Morton Grove is another fun shopping adventure.

I do go to Whole Foods once in awhile, but for budget reasons I only buy what I need for one (usually special) meal.

And a post on groceries wouldn't be complete without mentioning Mitsuwa. I wish that place could be my regular market, but money and distance would make that difficult.

Ben / September 20, 2004 9:42 AM

Stanley's and Whole Foods generally. Occasional stops at the Jewel if necessary. Plus the weekly produce drop (right to our front door!) from the folks at Hopewell Organics farm in Dixon, IL. P.S. Does anyone know where to pick up those wide, thick rice noodles other than the markets up on Argyle?

KC / September 20, 2004 10:03 AM

Thick rice noodles can be found on the cheap, in several different brands at Chicago Produce, on Kimball just between Belmont and the expressway. You can buy 3 kilos of frozen mandoo (pot stickers) for $5. A Korean salad bar allows you to sample most anything in the store before you buy it. There's also a small sushi bar and Korean restaurant inside. Produce is fresh, fish is excellent and their ramen aisle looks like a Wisconsin fireworks stand, in scope and color.

steve_sleeve / September 20, 2004 10:03 AM

roscoe village jewel, mostly. dominick's once in a while but not really in the past year, so: jewel. the lady friend goes to whole foods and trader joe's occasionally.

but neither of us have yet to visit the "paulina meat market" on lincoln and paulina ... though we both agree that someone should open up a bar of the same name in the building conveniently located across the street from the PMM.

Joe / September 20, 2004 10:07 AM

Walmart. I got a gallon jar of pickles for $2.99 this weekend.

Shylo / September 20, 2004 10:09 AM

I hate Whole Foods because nearly every time I go, I get whacked with a yoga mat by some gal yakking on a celly-cell.

Trader Joe's is the shit for everything but produce. That we either get at the farmers' or at our amazing local Jewel.

Craig / September 20, 2004 10:31 AM

When I worked out that way, I used to *love* Joe Caputo and Sons' Market on Dempster in Des Plaines.

When we lived up that way, I used to like the Rogers Park Fruit Market.

Now that we live down this way it's Stanley's, various farmers' markets, Ashland/Miwaukee Jewel(s), Whole Foods, and other miscellany.

Need a good butcher in West Town. Send help.

Tom / September 20, 2004 10:41 AM

Stanley's! after the recent expansion, they are still giving the people what they want: awesome selection of produce at very reasonable prices.

For packaged stuff and home stuff, I'm content with Jewel, or Cub when I can use someone's car.

And I'll tell you where I am NOT shopping: Olivia's Market on Waubansia. $10 jar of pasta in Wicker Park = sign of the apocalypse.

ken / September 20, 2004 10:54 AM

dominicks and jewel - I usually just shop for stuff in the sale flyer. Costco for a few things.

fruits & veg. - Andy's Fruit Ranch - has a on Kedzie just south of Lawrence - and Stanleys ocassionally.

Middle Eastern - Middle Eastern Grocery in Andersonville, Foster just west of Clark. there is a grocery just across from Andy's Fruit Ranch it had alot of the same stuff as the Grocery in Andersonville - i think the prices were better.

Asian - there are a couple that i go to on Argyle, one on the corner of Argyle and Kenmore. Another is further south on Broadway in the shopping center across from the Uptown Post Office.

Michael / September 20, 2004 11:10 AM

I usually split my shopping between Jewel and Trader Joe's. And if you can afford it, Paulina Meat Market is hands down the best place to get meat in the city--expect to wait in line on Saturdays.

Benjy / September 20, 2004 11:22 AM

For my big shopping trips I usually hit the Jewel on Ashland & Wellington or the Dominick's on Clybourn & Fullerton.

I also hit Trader Joe's and Stanley's frequently and occassionally Whole Foods, too. And Garden Fresh when I'm out in the 'burbs.

salty / September 20, 2004 11:49 AM

Every two weeks I load up at Trader Joe's. Formerly Glenview, but more recently going carfree to Lincoln Ave.

A couple times a week I go to People's Market in Evanston (formerly a discount store, now just a Wild Oats store that hasn't changed its name back). I stick to sale stuff there.

And Jewel/Osco for cat food & litter. And tin foil. For my hat. ;-)

j3s / September 20, 2004 11:51 AM

For day to day stuff, Tianguis, the Mexican grocery behind my house. On Wednesdays I hit the Green City Market for organic produce, yogurt, and other goodies. In the winter, I get produce from the King's Hill Farm CSA.

There are a ton of other places I go, which I document on As inferred from the name of the site, I don't shop at Jewel, Dominick's, Whole Foods, TJ's, or anything else like that, and haven't for three years.

Eamon / September 20, 2004 12:11 PM

For meat on the far north side, Bornhofen's at 6155 N. Broadway is the way to go. Though awfully brusque on the phone, they're incredibly helpful in person.

My wife goes to True Nature Health Foods at 6034 N. Broadway for her organics and suchlike.

We fight over Jewel (my preference) vs. Dominick's (hers). I believe Jewel has the better selection, but Dominick's has the better deals.

barrett / September 20, 2004 1:00 PM

Farmers' market at Orchard and Armitage Saturday mornings, Market Place on Diversey, Sherwyn's (but not for produce).

Infrequent trips to Dominick's at Thorndale, Whole Foods at Clyborn/Sheffield, Trader Joe's.

paul / September 20, 2004 1:16 PM

Anyone who's buys a gallon jar of pickles at Walmart should read this article - The Walmart You Don't Know.

"It's the story of what that pressure does to the companies Wal-Mart does business with, to U.S. manufacturing, and to the economy as a whole. That story can be found floating in a gallon jar of pickles at Wal-Mart."

Kris / September 20, 2004 2:01 PM

Can we please not start another Wal-Mart fight here? Please?

paul / September 20, 2004 2:16 PM

Sorry, I didn't mean to cast any implications on Wal-Mart, or the people who shop there, I just thought it was interesting to point out the history behind the gallon pickle jar.

Matt / September 20, 2004 2:19 PM

The suburbs after work and import it back in to the city!

Alice / September 20, 2004 2:32 PM

Used to shop at the Market Place on Clark until they closed for renovation. Now I'm back at the Jewel, even though the produce section at the Jewel on Lincoln/Berteau is wretched.

Kris / September 20, 2004 2:35 PM

Sorry Paul, I just feel like that's been hammered into the ground here. Didn't mean to jump all over you.

Myself, I just shop at the Jewel and Treasure Island up the street. I'd probably go elsewhere if I had a car, but such is life.

Ruthie / September 20, 2004 5:11 PM

In Hyde Park the Produce Mart on 53rd street near Kimbark rocks my socks off with their great produce. They also have good soymilk and tofu and amazing guacamole. Elsewhere in Hyde Park the choices are slim: the Co-op is pretty much it.

Maggie / September 20, 2004 6:43 PM

When in the burbs, Cubs foods in Melrose Park. Really, really good deals, fast lines, and no Preferred Card. City - Treasure Island.

Hey Andrew - where is the Caputo's opening? Caputo's has quite possibly the best cheese and sausage in the whole wide world. Well, maybe not the world...

Lisa / September 20, 2004 6:51 PM

You lucky northside bastards with your Trader Joe's and Whole Foods!

Not only am I a vegetarian, but I'm on the far south side, so it's Jewel and Southtown Health Foods for me except when I don't work in the summer and I go to Stanley's. Oh yeah, I do get bulk snack pack pudding, pet food and cereal from Costco... but even that is kind of a haul!

The most amazing grocery store in the world is called Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati:

Qwert / September 20, 2004 7:09 PM

On the southwest side we've got Pete's Fresh Market. Its a 1st class supermarket with extra attention paid to Hispanic, Arabic, and Polish products (unfortunately my "whiter than white" friends honestly think they'll find tarantulas in the produce section). Pete's prices are always 20 percent lower than the corporate chains. I couldn't live without it. Bobak's on Archer is the best for price, selection, and Polish fare. They have an amazing ultra wide assortment of meats and cheeses.

Zap / September 20, 2004 7:26 PM

I can't afford philosophy...I never have any money and Walmart is cheap.

Andrew / September 20, 2004 11:26 PM

Maggie: The new Caputo's is on Rte 12 just south of Hicks Rd. (I work *way* out in the suburbs).

Lyle from Lisle / September 21, 2004 12:08 AM

I heart ALDIS because I don't get attitude about my ILINK transactions, *and* the plastic handle bags, aka "ghetto Gucci."


Fern / September 21, 2004 8:40 AM

Lincolnwood Produce
SWAD on Devon
That East Asian place on broadway as mentioned above....
Mitsuwa if you can.
Isaacson & Stein for New Year's fish
Bornhoefen's is good

Used to be a great dumpster behind Brett's on Roscoe....or Paris Bakery on Broadway....
Trotter's To Go was a jackpot one time.

can't afford philosphy? but dear lad, it is is morality.

KT / September 21, 2004 9:31 AM

Where is this amazing Lincolnwood produce located?

Mike / September 21, 2004 9:33 AM

Roeser's Bakery on North and Kedzie has the best bread, and you can walk away with an armful of stuff for under $5. Also, their cakes are made to order and also cheap. Strawberry and Devil's Food should be banned, it's addictive.

James / September 21, 2004 11:22 AM

I go to Dirk's for the best damn seafood I've ever had.

2070 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL. 60614

miss ellen / September 21, 2004 11:53 AM

stopped over at Panera over the weekend; on the way back to the car, we were treated to the lovely BBQ samples that Dirk's does on the weekends....

sampled some whitefish and squid, very delicious. definitely recommend Dirk's!

as for shopping, i tend to mix it up quite a bit: Jewel for the big trips; TJ's and Whole Foods for specific items; sometimes Treasure Island. and, of course, all the little places & ethnic markets that fill our city so proudly!

speaking of shopping, i'm in desperate need for a trip --- if only i could find some spare time ;)

leighton / September 21, 2004 12:00 PM

First I should admit I work for one of the following companies:

Day to day stuff: Trader Joes. And I get an employees discount. Shazam.

Produce: Natures Best in Westmont- best kept secret around. Great stuff, and reasonably priced. And the dry goods is split into very distinct ethnic sections, and they have a great selection of olive oils. It's a little cramped cause it's always full.

Second best: 95 st. Produce (it's a drive). Great prices. They have lamb. Well lit and nice operation. Best halva around.

Asian: DIHO market. Just off ogden and 83 highway (Kingery). Best selection/ prices around. Smells like fish, so watch yer veggies. Preffered over mitsua, althought that's apples and oranges, as DIHO isn't as focused on Japanese products. Currently renovating. Best noodles. Best. Great selection of green tea.

Wild Oats/Whole Foods: The odd vegitarian item. Whole foods has the best deli. They are my prefferend source of meat as well. They have the same standards I do, which means meat that isn't filthy. It also means I eat a lot less of it, which is also not a bad thing. It's a bit more money, but it's a priority for me, and I would sooner skimp on a new computer or dsl than consume things I don't believe in.

Which brings us to walmart. A little bit of me dies whenever I'm "greeted" and I step into one. So I don't. I think they are unethical, and there is no arguement to the contrary. "I'm Poor, and it's Cheap" is a pityfull excuse, not an arguement that is going to convince me that walmart deserves my money.

And I think this is a point of view that needs to be heard, Kris, so I will not fall silent- you can skip over my comments. You can censure yourself, and leave another walmart fight to those interested in it.

Gordon / September 21, 2004 1:20 PM

The Heaven that is Lincolnwood Produce is located at 7175 N Lincoln Ave -- basically, the corner of Lincoln and Touhy.

Steve / September 21, 2004 2:22 PM

Thanks for the recommendation on Lincolnwood Produce -- I've been to the somewhat similar place a mile or so south of there (Lincoln and Devon?) but have yet to try Lincolnwood Produce even though I drive past it at least once a month. It's on the southeast corner of the Lincoln/Touhy intersection (you could miss it if you're driving north on Lincoln).

kelly / September 21, 2004 2:34 PM

Oh yes. Nature's Best is THE best produce market. It's cheap cheap cheap, always full of fresh food, and an awesome selection. Even though I live in the city, I still stock up when I go out to visit the parents out there in the burbs. Best part of all: they have cans out "gelatinous mutant coconut" in the asian dry foods section.

d4ve / September 21, 2004 3:57 PM

KC- Chicago FOOD Corp (not "produce") doesn't carry wide rice noodles unless i'm missing something (please inform). This is also where i stock up on cheap tofu and potstickers (the best frickin potsticker selection- fuck TJ's, New City)

For wide rice noodles, dry noodles and sauces it's Broadway Market.

For produce it's Stanleys. Alas i dropped from my King's Hill CSA cause Stanleys is cheaper.

i never step into a Jewel anymore. I've learned i could do without most of that crap.

Whole Foods for the hippie shit.

TJs for quickruns.


So What? / September 21, 2004 4:01 PM

Until you've walked the life of a someone who can barely live within their means, it's unneccessarily elitist to condemn other people's survival tactics. Unethical companies abound in this country and if you want to make WalMart a poster child for your leather armchair political views, go start a blog. In the meantime, keep your church to yourself.

Xan / September 21, 2004 4:26 PM

I share delivery from Angelic Organics for produce (ends up being $8.33 a week!), go to Stanley's for the rest (they have expanded their organics! so cheap! and they have good eggs and cheese). Then, Trader Joe's or Whole Paycheck for grains, etc. Sometimes I go to the Jewels if I can get a ride.

Steve / September 21, 2004 4:35 PM

Until you've walked the life of a someone who can barely live within their means, it's unneccessarily elitist to condemn other people's survival tactics.

All them homeless folk using the internet in the shelter loves their Gapers Block....

vit / September 21, 2004 4:42 PM

d4ve -- I'd love a decent co-op, my parents were members of one (I can't remember if it was the South Suburban one or the Park Forest one) when I was growing up in the 'burbs and I grew up on Co-op food. I wish I could find one here.

Jake / September 22, 2004 3:47 PM

The produce in Chicago sucks. Nothing beats a West Michigan Meijer. Did you know that it used to be called Meijer's Thrifty Acres and Supermarket?

When I'm jonesing, I occasionally go to the Meijer out in the suburbs, but their produce sucks too (at least compared to the Meijers in West Michigan).

nobo / September 26, 2004 6:09 PM

Andy's Fruit Ranch, the place across the street from it with the hot pita, and Trader Joes.

nobo / September 26, 2004 6:13 PM

oh - and tai nam.

Margo / October 7, 2004 4:31 PM

Wal-mart sucks,and I don't have much $ at all.

Anita McD. B. / October 8, 2004 11:44 AM

Casey's in Naperville is A-1 for beef,pork, chicken & buffalo - I like to talk to the guy cutting my meat. But don't bother with their fish. Their produce is over-priced, but it's convenient, so I buy much of it there. It's a good store, with an older, stable work-force. I appreciate that.
I buy my veggies from one of the Mafioso chains, when I'm buying bulk.
I don't buy fish from Trader John's - because it's all imports -- no American fish. Trader indeed! But they do carry a good mixture of soy products.
In the same strip center with Casey's & Traders is 1)A good wine and cheese store, 2) Good whole grain baker and 3)Wonderful local fish market.
Those are my Saturday morning stops - after Starbucks and the cleaners.
I'm from the South, and my cultural favorites have become easier to find in recent years.

Anita McD. B. / October 8, 2004 11:51 AM

And yes, we do need co-ops. We had a wonderful one in Birmingham, Alabama - absolutely wonderful - on the South Side. And people who didn't have a lot of money could work at the co-op and get a very nice discount on their purchases.


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