April 2014

Ample Grocery Store Choices on the Hill

Jessica Nemire

Potrero Hill residents are fortunate to have several grocery stores to choose from, almost all of which are within less than a half-hour walk of the neighborhood. Safeway provides the basics, available 24-7, at low cost, but without the organic options. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and The Good Life Grocery offer organic food. Whole Foods features a larger selection of goods, while Good Life is locally-owned and delivers a more intimate shopping experience.

The View recently toured the four stores, to review both the shopping experience and prices. For simplicity sake, the price of a basic produce item —a pound of red Fuji apples—was used for comparison purposes. 

The Ninth Street Trader Joe’s tends to draw crowds, but makes up for its longish lines and congested aisles with its friendly and efficient staff. The store offers daily samples of organic items and coffee, has a large frozen food and even larger alcohol selection, and several aisles of organic dairy and produce. Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell apples by the pound, but a Fuji apple costs around 79 cents; an organic Fuji apple is 89 cents. A pound of Fujis would cost around $3 for conventionally grown apples and $5 for organic apples, on the high side among the four groceries.

The Rhode Island Street Whole Foods is a big, air-conditioned store with several fresh food options, including a hot bar with items such as “fiesta broccoli,” a soup bar with eight different types of soup, a bakery, a deli, and a fresh seafood section. The store has a wide selection of organic grains and pasta, as well as an extensive refrigerated section. Sixteen ounces of soup costs $5.99; 32 ounces is $9.99. The deli features several different types of pasta dishes, as well as pizza by the slice, at $2.99 each or two for $5. The bakery offers pies, cakes, tarts, cookies, and cakes. Sheet and smaller cakes are $9.99. The seafood section has freshly made lobster chowder and seafood jumbo for $5.99, or a larger portion for $9.99. A pound of organic salmon is $11.99. The store only carries organic produce, with a pound of organic Fuji apples offered for $2.99.

There’s a table area at the front of the store, presumably for eating the just-purchased fiesta broccoli or butternut squash soup. Steep Brew, a bar and café with a complete kitchen, is located in the lowest level, and offers a large beer selection, many wine and coffee options, and WiFi.

The Good Life Grocery, on 20th Street, is much smaller than the other stores. It’s employee-owned, and sells mainly locally-raised meat and locally-grown produce. Good Life has a deli, with sandwiches for $5.99, grass-fed beef for $5.49, and smaller snacks, like crab cakes, for $1.99. A pound of organic Fuji apples is $2.89, suggesting that the small store experience can be had without paying higher prices.

Safeway, located in the Potrero Center, is large, air-conditioned, and has a fresh deli counter and several do-it-yourself meal options. But the store doesn’t have organic produce. In addition to the deli counter, which offers any entrée and two sides for $6, the store has a bakery—cakes for $7.99 —and an olive bar, where, for $8.99 a pound, shoppers can mix and match from the various olive types. The deli entrees include Greek veggie salad, Spanish rice, and pan-roasted turkey for $8.99. After 5 p.m. the deli offers a salad and soup combination for $5. A pound of Fiji apples costs $1.99, but they’re not organic. 

There are also upwards of a dozen corner stores on the Hill, where milk, eggs, and sundries can be picked up in a pinch, including Dave’s Food Store, Kansas Food Market, and the larger Chiotras Grocery.

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