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Heh, which sucks worse: Jewel or Dominick's?

  • h

I am certain that few, if any, of you go to either store.

But just for the record: which is crappier?

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  1. d
    David Hammond

    Horace, my feeling is that the quality of each of these stores can vary quite a bit by neighborhood. I actually do shop at Dominick's regularly, because in my neighborhood, it beats the Jewel.

    12 Replies
    1. re: David Hammond

      There is a fair amount of variation in some items but for us, in the South Loop, with both a Jewel and a Dominick's nearby on Roosevelt, we've ended up with a routine of more or less alternating between the two, with the choice dictated by the fact that there are various items the one does carry that the other doesn't. In general, we try to buy as much as possible elsewhere (ethnic markets, specialty shops, farmers' markets in season, etc.) and use these two thoroughly overpriced and consistently disappointing places for certain non-food necessities and convenient purchase of limited foodstuffs when circumstances allow no other option.

      There is a rumour out that Whole Foods will be opening a branch down this way. Whole Foods will offer the neighbourhood lots of things of quality but the prices on many things are, of course, laughably inflated, and many basic household goods they don't offer. We'll surely still have to go to the two places that -- albeit in slightly different ways -- thoroughly 'suck'.


      1. re: Antonius

        How's Meijer's? They're building one by me (Barrington Rd) but I've never been. I try to shop at Valli Produce which saved me about 40% on my weekly bill. I only go to Jewel for about 3 items they don;t carry. Any opinions on Valli?

        1. re: Rich

          JLawrence is a big proponenet of Meijer. He seems to shop there regularly and is satisfied that he is getting good deals there.

          In my area, Jewel is far superior to Dominicks (which operates perhaps the nastiest grocery store I have ever been in on Broadway). For may major shopping, I have found that Cub Foods offers much better prices on pantry items such as eggs, peanut butter, soft drinks, spices, ect. In addition, they generally have great specials. So, they get most of my business. I still prefer to shop independents for meats and produce. My personal preference is Cermak on North Avenue.

          I've had some pretty pleasant experiences in a couple of Jewels. Can't say the same for Dominicks.

          1. re: YourPalWill

            Here are my THUMBNAIL reviews of the Chicago area supermarkets.

            I am in there every other day as I bank with TCF Bank.
            The groceries are grossly overpriced with an occasional special. I do not like their deceptive use of units of measures. For example, some of their deli items are priced by the lb where others are prices by the half. Some meat items are priced by the lb whereas others by the each.

            Their baked goods are mediocre. Their produce items are fairly expensive. They account for under 5% of my total spend.

            There prices are worse than Jewel's. They are in serious trouble financially as they do not turn their meats and dairy often enough to keep it fresh. Their cashiers in Crystal Lake are generally rude, fine representatives of the UFCW.

            They do have a decent salad bar that I occasionally hit and their baked goods are better than the McHenry Co. independent bakeries. They account for less than 5% of my spend.

            CUB FOODS
            I have yet to find a good reason to shop them. Tey have the lethal combination of low quality and high prices. It is ONE place in Crystal Lake where they can have one cashier during unch time and still never have a line. A poor deli, poor meat selection. Decent produce that is the most expensive in the area.

            I am NOT a great Meijer's fan, BUT ... their prices are generally lower than the others. They run great sales on canned goods, canned beans, dry pasta. Their produce is good but is also very high. Their meat is of better quality than the others (not saying much) but you have to read the labels on some of it.
            Their seafood is the freshest in the area. Occasionally, they have mislabeled an item (calling Dungenous crab blue crabs) which has resulted in great savings for me.

            Generally, we shop here 4-5 times a year and spend a bundle to stock the pantry. Meijers accounts for about 15% of my food spend.

            They are not in this market but we shop them in Beloit, DeKalb, and Rockford. Where they are in the market, grocery prices are less. We buy some staples and some frozen foods there. I do not touch the seafood as it is the worst seafood quality that I have ever seen. Their produce is high. It is a darn shame that people in Rockford and DeKalb get lower priced groceries while we in Chicago pay more.

            Absolutely the dirtiest stores with plenty of stockouts. Of course, they are also running through tremendous volume.

            Accounts for about 10% of my food spend.

            My favorite supermarket in the area. Low prices, great selection, phenomenal deals if you look for them and know where to look. Unlike MOST purveyors in this market, they look to source a lot of their products from local and Wisconsin producers. I think that they have sourced from every dairy co-op in the state of Wisconsin.

            Produce is of good quality at decent prices. Meat is pretty good. Deli is weak. Baked goods vary widely based on the bakery that you choose from.

            The MARKDOWNS are phenomenal. Recent specials have been 10# Roma tomatoes for 0.99. Ground sirloin for 0.99/lb. A lot of their meat markdowns are 0.99/lb.

            They are up to about 25% of my spend.

            TRADER JOES
            Having shopped TJ's in SoCAL for years, the Chicago stores have been a major disappointment. The stores are crowded, poorly laid out, and the products are sourced differently than the SoCAL stores. The quality of the meat and the "fresh foods" are really pretty poor. In several of their stores, I have found out of date merchandise.

            I still buy some of their staple items when the
            prices are reasonable. Some of the items that I would always buy at TJ's like coffee, I have been ordering through mail order from other sources.

            Other places worth a note:

            EUROFRESH, Palatine
            On Friday, I finally made it to Caputo's on Harlem after hearing so much about the place. Personally, I prefer Eurofresh, although they are pretty similar.

            Great deli, good produce at a reasonable price, very average meat, good bakery selections. I make the 25 mile drive about twice a month to stock up.

            ARMANDOS, Elgin
            This is my favorite Mexican grocery and it is a lot better than the locals. Great prices on produce. Also some great street food out front. Better than LaRosita in McHenry Co.

            The dynamic that I have problems with in this market is that in general, the independents are CHEAPER than the large chains who have the buying power and the power to push manufacturers for slotting fees. In any other market that I lived in, the supermarket chains were cheaper and the independents had to offer great service to stay alive.

            That is my .02 worth.

            1. re: jlawrence01

              That's way more than .02 cents. Quite the comprehensive survey. For what it's worth:

              We get our staples at the Foster/Sheridan Dom's because it's there and we're there. They've certainly had their ups and downs over the years. Even with the current uncertainties about the parent co's inability to find a buyer etc., they seem slightly better than they were at their nadir some years ago.

              There was a time when items were regularly mispriced and no visit went by without a final trip to the service desk for refunds. I wrote a letter once to the manager, because the sight of older people and immigrants not able to check their receipts and just getting ripped-off in front of me was driving me crazy. I and received no reply.

              There's much less of that now and I have to say that the melting pot crew of Romanian's, slavs, hispanics, African-Americans etc. are virtually all pleasant to deal with and working under very difficult conditions.

              Both the Montrose/B'way and the Berwyn/Broadway Jewels seem to have higher prices and worse produce. The liquor selection is better at Jewel and their baked goods marginally better, though that is really a distinction without a difference. Jewel will sell you a roll of quarters for laundry w/ no surcharge. Doms charges .25 for the roll, which infuriates me.

              The Thorndale 'super-Doms.' is spacious, has much more product and is nicer to shop in. It's also right near Bornhoffen's meat market, so you can get your basics and good meat in one easy trip.

              I like the Ravenswood Trader Joe's a lot. Great prices on soy milk, various coffees/teas. Cheap wines to experiment with. All sorts of snacks and chips. Also greek style and organic yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. Decent bread, both packaged sandwich loaves and the fresh baguettes. Nice variety of salsas.

              I have noticed some out of date items in the refrigerator cases however, from time to time.

              I can't get over them selling the Macy's cheese straws for like a dollar less than anywhere else. I love those things.

              Also like their various breakfast cereals.

              Whole Foods has just become too high end for us and we're rarely there. We do try to get to People's in Evanston when we can.

              1. re: mrbarolo

                I have found the Jewel at Montrose & Broadway to be dirty, frequented by some scary people, and lacking in the Customer Service area; 2 lanes open for 20 people is just dumb. I try to avoid it at all costs, even though its the closest store to my house.

                I tend to frequent the "big Jewel", as it's known in my neighborhood, at Ashland & Wellington, or the Southport Jewel, if I need to just run in for a few things. I have found both of these stores easy to shop, clean, fairly well stocked (except for some reason, it's impossible to find 2 liters of Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi at either store), quick to open new lanes when the store gets crowded, and open to suggestions of products to carry.

                I occassionally get to the Dominick's at Wrightwood & Clybourn and usually enjoy it, except for the fact that I am used to the layout of Jewel stores and sometimes have to backtrack when there.

                I also occasionally go to the Trader Joe's at Lincoln & Grace and enjoy their offerings.


              2. re: jlawrence01

                My findings are about the same, although I would say that Trader Joe's offers many interesting food items at reasonable prices that one would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in this area.

                1. re: Nick

                  Jewel is by far the closest market to me, so I end up shopping there occasionally. It's a nightmare, especially since they put in the self checkouts. I have to say the people who work there are all very nice. But their selection is crap, their setup is illogical and they are always running out of things.

                  When I'm near a Sunset Foods in the suburbs, I always stop and pick up a few items I never see anywhere else. The prices are high and they seem to have an even bigger quotient of clueless shoppers than Whole Foods, which is saying a whole lot. (How does one rather small person manage to get in the way of half a dozen other people?)But they have an interesting selection and checkout always proceeds smoothly.

            2. re: Rich

              On weekends in Michigan, we shop at Meijier and love it. THe staff is extremely helpful, it seems like they actually like working there, the produce is of high quality and great prices, and the pantry items are often on sale with great prices. I haven't been in Illinois, but often stock up in Michigan due to the prices. I think Jewel is terrible, dirty and lack of selection/quality. Dominicks is slightly better. We live in Oak Park, so we shop at Whole Foods and at Certifiedland - an "old-fashioned" grocery store, with decent produce and unique products from around the world. I would check out a Meijier if there was one nearby.

              1. re: Rich

                I went to a Meijer's in Washington State with my sister a few years ago. The place was so damned huge I'm convinced that if I weren't with her I'd still be wandering around looking for my way out.

                1. re: mw

                  There are no Meijer stores in either Washington State or DC, in fact nowhere near either one. The 220+ Meijer stores are located in Michigan,
                  Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. Could be thinking of Fred Meyer
                  Supermarkets but they're not that large.

                2. re: Rich

                  Valli Produce is one of the best values in the Chicagoland area. They have a wide selection, the produce is top quality, and you cannot beat the price.

            3. h
              Hank Baldpate

              On the whole I think Dominicks beats Jewel, even after the buyout by Safeway. Still, isnt the shopping experience at both truly horrible? How many times have you been there during the dinner hour when 5/10 lines are closed and the lines are winding into the aisles? I would gladly pay a premium to have a checker and a bagger at each line at all times. Maybe they'll even say hello and make eye contact!

              1. Count me as one who frequents both stores, considering my proximity to both. But the main reason is because there are certain items I like that are carried by one, but not by the other, so depending on whether or not I need a specific item, that's how I choose. The trick, however, is remembering which store carries what. I will agree that some specific stores are better than others. The Dominick's on Howard/Clark is notorious for being crowded with 2 lanes open and lines backing up into the aisles. The Jewel on Howard/McCormick is pretty decent.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mw

                  I quit shopping at that Dominick's for precisely that reason. I found that it actually took less time to go to the Jewel at Plaza del Lago in Wilmette and come back to Rogers Park, no joke. Also, that Jewel has all kinds of stuff you don't find at the average Jewel, e.g., La Brea Bakery breads, Dean & DeLuca herbs and spices, edible flowers, etc. They manage to pack a LOT into that little store. Good staff, too.

                  1. re: peg

                    I agree about the Jewel in Plaza Del Lago-- it's the nearest grocery store to the place where I grew up and it spoiled me horribly for grocery stores.

                    The fact that it is small is great-- you don't have to walk a block to get from the produce section to the dairy section the way you do with the larger stores!

                2. I think it is wrong to assume that we don't shop there because they are the two most easily accessable grocery stores in our city. The Jewel closest to me (Ashland/Roosevelt) actually has a decent selection of ethnic foods, mostly Mexican. The Dominick's on Halsted and Madison has above average meat and produce, maybe because of the Yuppies in the area. But sometimes I think that Dominick's has fewer sales. I try to make frequent trips to Stanley's fruit market and the occassional Whole Foods and Trader Joe's trips. I, like Antonius, am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Whole Foods in our area.

                  1. Both bad with Jewel a shade better. No reason to shop at either one of them with all the ethnic markets and indeoendents like Treasure Island,Tony's or Butera.

                    1. Treasure Island on N. Broadway is my preferred store. They have a good selection (imports especially) and friendly employees. They have good weekly sales. They are also attuned to the community. As a gay guy, I appreciate the fact that I can pick up all the weekly free gay newspapers at the store (they also carry other free publications for theirJewish patrons, etc.). I even like their newspaper ads - they have a neat visual style (at least compared to other supermarkets). You don't get these things at the two big chains - they could care less about the community around them.

                      I'm also near the Jewel on B'way & Addison and the notorious Dominick's at B'way & Barry. I will occassionally visit both stores and I am SHOCKED by the prices! Even with the store discount cards (which I loathe and will never use) the prices are simply sky - high. Additionally, the staff in both stores is rude/nonexistent...

                      I have friends who think me a fool for shopping at that "expensive" Treasure Island and think they are getting great deals at Jewel with their Preferred Cards. The joke's on them - give me a list of 10 - 15 common grocery items: I'll *always* come out ahead at Treasure Island as compared with those who go to Jewel with their "discount" cards....

                      Several surveys have been done in the past (IIRC _Consumer Reports_, _Wall Street Journal_, _Tribune_ "Food Guide") including these three stores and Jewel and Dominick's have *always* been more expensive than Treasure Island. Supposedly the Dominick's here on N. B'way is the top - profit store in the chain...looking at their prices I certainly believe it.

                      I do buy liquor at the Osco's on Halsted, Clark & Barry. The place is always empty and the cashiers have always given me the Preferred Card price...what with Binny's just a few steps south getting good prices on liquor is never a problem ;-)

                      Interestingly, I buy a lot of food items at Walgreen's. With sales and the coupons in their weekly flyer one can get some pretty good deals....

                      And every few weeks I'll take the #36 bus up B'way to Argyle St. and stock up on cheap Asian vittles....


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: GEM

                        The Treasure Island on N. Broadway is a cesspool of filth. Ever looked behind the deli counter? Or been through the back room to get to the restrooms?

                      2. I thought you all might be interested in the website. It is called F* Corporate Groceries and is a blog about not shopping at corporate grocery stores in chicago.


                        Link: http://leahj.blog-city.com

                        1. e
                          Evan B. Druce

                          Here on the South Side, Co-Op Markets has a lock on the local grocery business, with three locations in Hyde Park and Kenwood. Although you feel like a good person for shopping there (pro-environment policies, local ownership, the money stays in Hyde Park) the prices are sky-high. Often staples (pop, cereal, butter) are twice to three times what they cost at the major chains. For our regular shopping, then, we have to take the #15 bus down to the Dominick's on 71st and Jeffery. It's a huge store, and the selection is vast compared to the somewhat limited choices at Co-Op Markets. The store is bright with an open layout, and service is always speedy, except on Friday pizza special night. The nearest Jewel to Hyde Park, on 35th and King Drive, doesn't even compare. It's small, cramped, dirty, and the shelves look like a swarm of potheads has just descended on them. Yes, I have been to Meijer (Rolling Meadows location) just once; it's easily the largest single store I've ever been inside, and, despite the size, offers a consistently high quality of merchandise. Even store brands are excellent. I think of it as like Super Wal-Mart without the evil and the crap. And there is certainly a lot of crap at Super Wal-Mart.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: Evan B. Druce

                            I guess it depends where you live in Hyde Park, but when I lived there, I actually found it more convenient to shop at the Dominick's on 31st and Ashland. (It's right off the Stevenson at Damen.) There's also a Jewel not too far away right down Archer at Western, if you want to shop the specials at both. Both of these stores are large and relatively well-run, and they usually have reasonable selections of ethnic foods for their Asian and Latin American neighbors.

                            Altho I found/find one or two things I like about the Co-op (their meat specials are often better than the above two, and they do occasionally have exotic items) I always considered it a god-awful shopping experience in every way, particularly on Saturday mornings and weekday evenings.

                            1. re: Evan B. Druce

                              Do I remain silent or . . . gasp . . . defend the dreaded Co-op, where I've shopped for 25 years?

                              All right, here goes nothing. Our family does most of its grocery shopping at the Co-op. I stick with it principally because it's my community store, and I have a relationship with a number of long-term employees. Rahn's produce section offers a variety of quality mechandise, the butcher and fish departments are reliable, and the deli delivers the staples. Moreover, because our family doesn't do a lot of convenience foods, we don't get as big a bounce going to a chain establishment with deeply discounted specials on stuff we don't consume. On the other hand, the Co-op features good quallity bulk items (we eat alot of cashews and freshlt ground peanut butter) and a lot of ingredients that I can not reliably get elsewhere

                              I think the worst days (of indifferent service and crowded, scuffed-up aisles) are over (though that slogan they dreamed up years ago, something about offering "incredible service," is and was risible). On the other hand, at the chain stores, there's a lot of stony stares and ignorance about the mechandise. When I add the inconvenience factor of driving out of the neighborhood (and I do put a value on my time), consider the social costs of shopping at the chains, and knowing I'm going to have to return to the Co-op at least occasionally, I see little advantage going elsewhere. (Well, I do like specialty grocers for some items, but tend to hit them only when I'm going out of the neighborhood for another reason.)

                              No, the horrible underside of the Co-op is its business management, that has led the store to the brink of death on multiple occasions. If the Co-op tanked, it would leave a huge hole in the South Side economy. A lot of folks have worked there a lot of years. Compared to that, counting pennies and double-coupon days don't mean much to my family.

                              1. re: Paul Mollica

                                I think the slogan was (is?) "outrageous service." It's almost adding insult to injury.

                              2. re: Evan B. Druce

                                The Co-op has its faults but also a number of virtues. To shop regularly at Jewel or Dominick's in preference to the Co-op (at least the one I know on 55th Street) strikes me as approaching madness on a variety of counts, especially if one lives in Hyde Park (which I did for many years). And while the Co-op's prices may be high, so too are those of D's and Jewel. But I will admit that there are some (esp. household) items that the Co-op doesn't carry, necessitating trips elsewhere.


                                1. re: Antonius

                                  It's been some time since I shopped regularly at the Hyde Park Coop, and hopefully, changes in management have since turned it around (and, granted, I still stop by on off-hours to take advantage of some of those virtues) BUT . . . excruciatingly long waits in cramped quarters, surly cashiers, missing specials, pricing on staples that occasionally make their corporate competitors look like charitable organizations, some of the worst produce I've ever sampled on a consistent basis--Mad? Mad is right. You've got to be plenty mad for a 10-mile roundtrip drive to visit a corporate chain every week when your local grocery monopoly is just around the corner.

                                  1. re: jbw

                                    Anyone who buys any appreciable amount of the food they consume at Jewel or Dominick's is, yes indeed, probably stark raving mad. And as irritating as many aspects of the Co-op are (we call it 'the Twilight Zone'), the vast majority of their food offerings (including the produce!) are better than the stuff they overcharge for in Jewel and Dominick's.

                                    We shop in all three of these only very selectively, as certain needs and constraints dictate. There are so many other options in this city, especially if one has a car. And if one doesn't have a car and lives in Hyde Park, well, there are still many better options than the two big two chains.


                                    1. re: Antonius

                                      A lot of Hyde Parkers do their produce shopping at the fruit and vegetable mart on 53d St., stock up on bulk items at Target or CostCo, get specialty stuff on the North Side, and shop the rest of the time at the Co-Op. I don't see the advantage in the fruit and vegetable store (I've never found their prices or quality that much better than the 55th Street Co-Op, and they don't have the variety). I used to the bulk thing a lot more when we had babies in the house.

                                      I can't help but suppose that a lot of the complaining about the Co-Op is driven by subjective impressions. I agree with the poster that complained about the physical plant: the cramped quarters up front, the narrow aisles (crammed with stand-up floor displays), the dim lighting (though no worse than Whole Foods on North Ave), the horrid MOR music (true also at the chains). Yet on pricing and product quality, at least for my family's staples (bread, olive oil, peanut butter, fruits and vegetables, legumes, canned tomatoes, etc.), I have found the Co-Op to be decent or better, especially when you use the monthly 5% discount coupons (and as an added bonus, you don't have to abandon your privacy by using one of those stupid "club" cards). The produce at the Co-Op is, in my experience, a significant improvement over the local Dominick's stores.

                                      Up to now, I've been speaking of the flagship store on 55th Street. Of the other two stores, I see no particular advantage in the 47th St. store, and the 53d St. store really ought to be closed altogether (a real pit).

                                      1. re: Paul Mollica

                                        Regrettably, the coupons, member days, and case-lot discounts are more or less worthless for people without vehicles, precisely the audience that is just plain stuck with the Co-op. *If* I plan ahead, I can haul away a rich $2 in savings a month. I would have had a better return if I had used my money to open a savings account instead of buying Co-op shares. Your mileage may vary.

                                        For what it's worth, current scuttlebutt is that about 90 days' operating capital remain. The Co-op's problems run much deeper than narrow aisles and Muzak.

                                        1. re: Dave Noll

                                          I'm new to Chicago, and Hyde Park, and glad to see that I'm not alone in my impressions of the Co-Op. I bought bananas there a week and a half ago that were bright green (which is fairly normal), but they remained green for over a week (which is not.) I woke up one morning and they were brown and mushy, and never seemed to stop at anything resembling edible. Had similar problems with nectarines. I came from NYC, and I'm accustomed to mediocre produce from grocery stores, but this was ridiculous. Their veggies seem a little better than fruit, but still nothing special, and as many note, pretty pricey.

                                          I've made a few trips on my bike to Trader Joe's in Lincoln Park, and got some wonderful bananas there. I've never thought of TJ's as a produce place (living without a car in NYC meant getting there once every 6 months if I was lucky enough to bum a ride from somebody driving through NJ or Westchester), and it's a little far to go even now for basics, so I'm still looking for other options.

                                          My girlfriend heard that there's occasionally a farmer's market of sorts on Harper (I think), just north of 53rd Street. Is anyone familiar with that? She heard something about them closing off the street near the Starbucks there, and people selling produce. I'd be thrilled to hear that this happened regularly. Anyone know?

                              3. Almost everyone who has moved to Lakeview/ Lincoln Park has experienced the Dominick's at approx 2900 N. Broadway, just S. of W Barry.... This has got to be the most poorly managed grocery in the USA- It is the epitome of why labor unions aren't always the best thing for this country!!!!!!

                                They have had the same staff for the 10 years I've lived here, and while some are friendly ie; Carlos, Carol, Eugene- they have always put the slowest cashiers on the express registers ( I won't mention
                                names).............Go in there almost any given peak period, and you'll be lucky to find 2 registers even open.. I've never experienced longer lines anywhere else

                                The produce section is the ultimate worst- overripe bananas- even since they switched to chiquita- the corn on the cob is shriveled and dry- the fresh value prices are no deal whatsoever! You will find almost everything cheaper at Jewel. Watch out for the browning mystery meats with the $2 off price reduction stickers

                                The only things I purchase at Dominicks are the rolls and bagels in the mini-bakery they have- the Jewel rolls are without character!!!! Unfortunately, the rolls/ bagels sometimes aren't even ready till mid-morning!!!! Also, I have praised there $4.99 pizza special on this site- Yes, fix it up a little and it's not bad!!!!!!!

                                I primarily shop now at Treasure Island (better sales than Jewel or Domincks) or Marketplace on Diversey-higher prices but no lines

                                It behooves me that people still flock to that Dominicks- It is such a disgrace that there have been times I felt like holding a freh values card burning rally and vow to never visit again- Yet, I'm drawn back, a glutton for punishment

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Pauly

                                  Lived in that neighborhood at least 10 years ago, and have to agree, Carlos was the friendliest, best cashier they had! They're lucky to have him!


                                  1. re: Pauly
                                    Kenny from Rogers Park

                                    Pauly says:

                                    "This has got to be the most poorly managed grocery in the USA- It is the epitome of why labor unions aren't always the best thing for this country!!!!!!"

                                    Umm, poorly MANAGED grocery stores are the fault of MANAGEMENT, not labor unions or their members.

                                    1. re: Pauly

                                      Without a doubt it's a terrible store. What's more disgusting is that it's their most profitable.

                                      1. re: Pauly

                                        Dominick's has to be the worst - they also have a disgusting, dirty and poorly stocked store on Lincoln, just north of Foster.

                                        Since there is no grocery really near me (I live 1 block south of Lawrence, between Damen and Western), I depend on Peapod - which is a whole 'nother thread - don't get me started. If I want good meat, I go to the Mexican grocery east of me a ways on Lawrence, or Treasure Island (the meat market on the corner of Leland and Lincoln freezes and then defrosts everything). I also shop at the Vietnamese and Thai goceries in Uptown, and make a special trip to Treasure Island when I'm planning on cooking something special (Peapod is hit-or-miss with produce, and doesn't even have fresh meat - they have a strange sort of mashed beef in a cryovac package - very strange texture. Their (frozen) ground pork was almost inedible, with the weirdest smell in the world).

                                        I think shopping at the ethnic groceries around town is the best way to go - just compare the price of shallots at Jewel vs. at the Thai grocery on Broadway, for instance.

                                        1. re: Akatonbo
                                          Eldon Kreider

                                          Have you tried Harvest Time? It is operated by the same people as Edgewater Produce and is located on the northwest corner of Lawrence and Talman (1 block west of Rockwell). A little farther away, the Cermak Produce in the 4200 block of Kedzie is terrific.

                                          1. re: Eldon Kreider

                                            Have tried Harvest time when up that way...very good prices on produce..I'm a little skeptical about their deli counter meats

                                        2. re: Pauly

                                          Agreed - it's horrid! One of the workers actually "stalked" me around the store and after a few weeks asked me out. I politely declined, but a few weeks later, he actually followed me home after a shopping trip. It creeped me out so bad, I never went back, started shopping at Treasure Island. I moved a couple of months later (not because of that incident) but the guy still works there - I saw him outside the store not long ago. Very creepy.

                                        3. s
                                          Shannon Clark

                                          Like many other posters on this board I do not generally shop at either store, but a few comments on where/how we do shop for groceries.

                                          - every day items, at Treasure Island on Wells or actually at Walgreens at North & Wells. Both because they are on the same block I live on, and because both can and do have great deals, especially on items on sale. At Treasure Island I generally buy sale items, occasional deli items (roast chicken for $6 makes multiple good meals), some produce and some staples. At Walgreens I mostly buy sale items - occasionally cereal and milk etc.

                                          - Once a month (or so) we go to Trader Joes (on Clybourn) and stock up on frozen foods, sauces, cooking staples (oils etc), and treat ourselves to some of their great sourdough bread, sometimes other fresh foods.

                                          - Once a month or so we shop at the Jewel at Division and Clark, mostly because it is right at a Red Line stop, there we generally buy items that are on significent sale - the deals can be decent, though their other items can be overpriced.

                                          - Once every few months we go with a friend (who has a car) and shop at Costco to stock up on some bulk items (gum, chicken sausage, baked beans, popcorn, etc). We've found, however, that prices on large bulk good such as paper towels or toilet paper are often LOWER at Treasure Island than at Costco (especially when Treasure Island has the item on sale which happens at least once a month for paper towels, laundry detergent etc.)

                                          Occasionally I will shop at an ethnic grocery such as Chicago Food or one of the ones on Broadway - there I tend to get more exotic items, asian jerkyies, sauces, etc.

                                          Sometimes I will go to Stanley's for produce but I have been disappointed with the quality the last few times.

                                          Mostly we get our produce from Farmer's Markets - primarily the Green City Market on Wednesday, occasionally the Division St. Market on Saturday.


                                          1. It depends on the individual store. I'm not crazy about any of the Jewel or Dominicks in my area. I wish there were a Trader Joe's closer than LaGrange or Lakeview. I probably buy 60-70% of my groceries there. Whole Foods is close by but has gotten very pricey. I kind of like the Jewel on Touhy Avenue in Niles but it's 10 miles from my house and I only go there when I'm at my parents' for something. I used to like Cyd & D'Pano on Randolph but they've changed their layout recently and I don't go there anymore.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: rick
                                              Shannon Clark

                                              Where are you located? From the sound of it, I would think that the Trader Joe's at Clybourn, just north of North Ave might not be too far (free parking too if you drive, walking distance of the Red Line stop, North Ave bus or Halstead Bus)


                                            2. Which is worse? Dominick's by a long shot.

                                              I used to live in Naperville, and I used to buy all my meats at Casey's and then split my remaining shopping between Jewel, Meijer, Dominicks and Eagle.

                                              Now that I live in Joliet, I have switched almost exclusively to shopping at Jewel. There are three Jewel stores that are convenient to me. The one in Shorewood at Rte59, the Larkin store and the Jefferson store.

                                              I usually shop the Jefferson store. It is better run than the Larkin store and is considerably cheaper than the Shorewood store. Something a lot of you city dwellers (and I include the near-suburbs in that group) may not know is that chain grocery prices are determined by a store's region. In my case, the Joliet region stores (Jewel, Dominicks and Cub) all run 10-20% cheaper than the same stores only a few miles away (Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Shorewood).

                                              The Jefferson store also stocks a larger supply of Mexican specialty foods, which I really like.

                                              I have also found that by shopping at the same store on a regular basis, I have become more familiar with HOW they price their items and when a sale is a real sale or a "fake" sale.

                                              I shop for a familly of four approx. every two weeks, and the average savings on my bill is around 30% of the total. (Total: $200, savings: $60). Keep in mind that some of the "regular" prices are inflated and I have a large pantry and deep freeze to stock up on items when the price is good (for example, I NEVER pay full price for butter, because every month or two they have a buy-one-get-one sale, and then I buy six or eight).

                                              I have found the meats at the Jewel to be acceptable, and if you shop when the "real" butchers are working, they are fairly knowledgable.

                                              A quick note about Meijer:
                                              I like the Meijer stores in general. Their food sales are not that great, but their overall prices are ok. I avoid their meats, however, beacuse I have had tooooo many bad experiences. I usually shop their once or twice a year when I need to get non-grocery items and I kill two birds with one stone.

                                              1. Unfortunately, back in the fall of 2000, a Rochester, N.Y.-based supermarket chain called Wegman’s opened the doors to a new store located about a mile from where I lived.

                                                It’s unfortunate, because in the summer of 2002 I moved to suburban Chicago and every day I weep because there’s no Chicagoland chain that can be mentioned by name in the same SENTENCE with Wegman’s.

                                                It’s shocking because Chicagoans really do love their food. I’d figured their grocery stores would reflect this.

                                                Instead, you all put up with this freaky ‘80s time-warp thing at these terrible Dominicks and Jewels and Meijers and Cubs. (I've been doing what HappyFatGuy once did as a Naperville resident: I buy my meat at Casey’s and do the rest of the shopping at the chain that pisses me off the least on that particular day. Casey's is absolutely wonderful except that it tends to get expensive and after shopping there for 30 or so minutes the crowded building begins to feel about the size of your average 7-11. Figures. Even a great store out here has a major flaw.)

                                                Here are a few things that regularly drive me nuts about the grocery chains. These are all common occurrences that absolutely baffle me:

                                                -- I can always pick out of a crowd the ladies who have recently moved to the Chicago area. They’re the ones with exasperated looks on their faces, trying to figure out why the boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese aren’t located in the pasta section.
                                                -- Why is the bread aisle positioned right in the middle of the stores?!? So it can get crushed, I’m guessing. Brilliant.
                                                -- At the Jewel on Route 59 in Naperville a few miles from where I live, they still sell milk in unenclosed refrigeration boxes. Dairy cases without the cases!! No doors!! At first I thought this was some sort of wing of a Supermarket Museum.
                                                -- I was horrified when I realized that the stores sell discolored meet that had just met the expiration date on the package. I don’t care if it’s sold at a 75-cent discount. Stop selling rotting meat!!!
                                                -- Oh, and how about inspecting the produce before offering it for sale. Hey Darrel, tell your other brother Darrel that just because the crate says peaches, doesn’t mean all of the peaches are in great shape. The produce sold at supermarkets out here is disgraceful. Basically, Jewel, Dominicks, Meijer, and Cub don’t care if you buy a rotten cuke or apple. They simply don’t care.
                                                -- And I believe that the sale of seafood should be banned at all Chicago-area grocery stores until somebody teaches these people how ice it down properly and take care of it. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Improperly handled fish is a real menace to those who maybe aren’t in the best of health. Again many of these Jewels Dominicks, Meijers and Cubs don’t care.
                                                -- Member cards out here mean nothing. NOTHING. No points that could add up to a free turkey at Thanksgiving or ham at Easter. No baby bucks points. (At Meijer, because there is no member card, you have to keep the receipts for Baby Bucks and add them up yourself. Great, thanks for the help.) At Dominick's they sometimes hand out coupons for free coffee at their own the little Starbucks stand. Which is not run by a barista, but by the same nitwit who stacks the rotten apples in the produce section. Woo hoo.
                                                -- How about parking spaces set aside for expecting mothers and those with small children? Oh, that’s right. That’d be too helpful and convenient. Instead, I got some 15-year-old at Jewel asking me in a robotic voice if I need help bringing groceries to my car. No thanks, Junior. Today all I bought is a jug of milk and a Sun-Times. And then I resist the urge to slap him and tell him to wake the hell up.

                                                WEGMAN'S, PLEASE COME TO NAPERVILLE. I'M BEGGING YOU.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: ML in Naperville IL

                                                  I grew up in Rochester and there is absolutely no grocery store in any part of the country that I've lived (PA, NYC, CT, CA, NH) that even comes close to a Wegmans.
                                                  I just moved to Naperville about a week ago from CT and I am stunned at the horrible quality grocery stores out here.
                                                  Here's my biggest complaint - the deli meats and meats in general are usually disgusting!!!

                                                  Where can I go in the Naperville area for high quality deli meats (e.g., Boar's head, Dietz and Watzon brands) ???? I'm dying for real deli meat w/ no fillers!!!

                                                  Can anyone please help?

                                                  1. re: Marckda333

                                                    There is indeed a gem in Naperville's grocery wasteland. (I swear, it's like an '80s time warp when I do Jewel or Dominick's.)

                                                    The best combo of butcher, deli case (Boar’s Head), bakery, and produce in town is Casey’s Foods on 124 W. Gartner Road in the Naperville Plaza shopping center, not too far south of the hospital off Washington Street. Their phone number is (630)369-1686 and I’m pretty sure they have a Web site.

                                                    The quality there is absolutely phenomenal.

                                                    It’s located in a very useful shopping center that has a good drug store, a Trader Joe’s, some restaurants, a bread shop, and a fish monger, and several other stores.

                                                    But not unlike every other grocery store in town, Casey’s has its flaws:

                                                    -- It’s too small. It’s about the size of a really, really large 7-Eleven. They really pack the goods on the shelves, but the major chains simply carry more items. And people love this place, so it can get pretty crowded. The service, though, more than makes up for the tight quarters.

                                                    -- It’s pricey. You get what you pay for. Plus, this is run more like a mom-and-pop place. This shouldn’t be your every-day-shopping-list type of place. You’ll realize this once you get there.

                                                    -- It closes early. Check the times for sure, but if it’s 8:30 at night you forgot to buy that flank steak you wanted to marinate in the morning, you’re S.O.L.

                                                    I lived in Naperville for 2 years before someone finally told me about it. And I’m bitter it took that long. Check it out and enjoy.

                                                    1. re: ML in Naperville IL

                                                      Have you been to Michaels Fresh Market on 59? I just started working in Naperville and have been scouring the area for good food stores. Just stopped by Michaels today to check in out and was blown away by the selection. A huge produce department, that appears to all be high quality, with all kinds of unusual ethnic (asian/hispanic/e. european) foods. Lots of imported foods. Must have had 20 brands of Fish Sauce, a big selection of Asian noodles. Six kinds of fresh feta and maybe 10 kinds of olives behing the deli counter. The fish department seemed a little weak, but otherwise it was quite impressive. The meat area had everything from corned beef to brisket, pot roast to pigs ears. And the prices were very good. Certainly less than Whole Foods, and also a better deal than Domincks/Jewel from what I saw. I'll be here every week.

                                                2. You will be getting a Caputo's soon! I've never been to Wegman's but Capoot's (as we call it here in Addison)has a great selection of just stuff. Lots of italian food and other ethnic staples and a great deli. I've never seen a store around here - any of them - that police their stuff so well that there is not some rotten stuff. After picking up several packages of moldy strawberries, I often wonder who says it's OK to put it out! I must mention, recently I went to the Dominick's store in Elmhurst on 83 and St. Charles (they are doing a grand re-opening, presumably to Safeway), and they had a chuck wagon thing in the parking lot giving out samples of their Rancher's Reserve strip steak. It has the best flavor and is very tender for only something like $4.98 a pound. Don't hiss at me till you tried them!!! IMHO, they also have the best Italian sausage around. To finally answer the question, I'm with ML - I go to the store that pisses me off the least that day.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Suburban Sandy

                                                    Yeah, the Caputo's will replace a year-old Marsh (Indy-based, I believe), which inexplicably went out of business here. I was OK with Marsh. The produce was excellent. Nice choices in the bakery, seafood, and meat departments. The prices were OK and they sent home a lot of coupons through the mail. It was the closest thing out here resembling a Wegman’s. And then it disappeared.

                                                    Aside from Meijer up on 59, Marsh was the only grocery store with a lobster tank. (At Naperville's two Succulent Seafood shops, you have to order lobsters a day in advance.) And it really pains me to buy a scraggly looking Nova Scotia lobster at Meijer, let me tell ya ... I save that place for my "crustacian emergencies" ...

                                                    I shopped Marsh every so often, but it didn't replace the Jewel and Dominicks because of its lousy location. It was down 59 by the Naperville-Plainfield line and I live between 87th and 95th. So this leads me to believe that Caputo’s will probably struggle here, too. Because when it comes down to it, the Marsh blew away your typical Dominick’s and Jewel by a long shot.

                                                    1. re: ML in Naperville IL

                                                      I don't know...Caputo's does really good here in Addison. The produce is good, prices are good and there is a huge selection of various items, stuff you can't get at your typical Jewel or Dominicks. From what I've read, this is going to be their biggest store yet. They also have great bakery - we have a fabulous Italian bakery here in Addison and Caputos tiramisu blows it away. Nice pastries and if it's anything similar they will have things like panzerotti, panini sandwiches and gelato in a little cafe thing. They make the best homemade bocconcini I've ever had. And their garlic sausage is also very good. Otherwise, the meat counter (yes, they do have a butcher counter) is nothing to write home about, nothing remarkable. I'll be interested to see how they do, but blowing Jewel and Dominick's out of the water is not a hard thing to do.

                                                  2. Sunset foods is hands down the best grocery store (4 locations) in the chicago area. Best produce, selection service and ready made items...period. There is a reason north shore moms and dads drive from miles around to shop in highland park

                                                    1. I'm interested to see people's comments on specific stores. I haven't been in the Foster & Sheridan Dominicks for several years now but it used to be a disgrace: dirty, poorly stocked, and with unbelievably rude staff. After hearing checkers speak abusively to ethnic customers (examples being "Can't you speak English" and "I don't like Jews") I wrote a letter to the manager (without results). In general I have found Jewel to be more professionally run but a lot seems to depend on which store and which neighborhood. The fact is that to shop well in Chicago you have to be a honeybee and go from flower to flower. Read the grocery ads in the Wednesday Trib then skim off the specials at Jewel, Dominicks, and Treasure Island. Hit the mama-and-papa stores for produce and ethnic stuff. Go to Trader Joe's for their amazing line of frozen products (currently their price for frozen red raspberries is around 50% of what J and D are charging). Go to WholePaycheck for your ground beef if you care about what's in it. Don't forget the farmers' markets for freshness and variety of produce.

                                                      1. I grew up in the western suburbs where the first Dominicks stores appeared in the '50s. In my experience as a child and as a young adult Dominicks beat Jewel cold for freshness of produce and meat, for service and for good, clean, responsive stores.

                                                        No more.

                                                        Since the Safeway buy-out, the Dominicks I knew all my life is as gone as Marshall Fields was, even before they put the big red star on it. I haven't been in a Dominicks in years that has the produce, the service it used it. It doesn't even LOOK clean most of the time.

                                                        I moved from the suburbs into the city several years ago and found the Dominicks was even worse here than there. I am now a Jewel convert -- but only for grocery staples.

                                                        I suppose I have become pretty picky these days. I buy bread at bakeries; produce at Farmers Markets (when possible), meat, fish and milk at Whole Foods. Trader Joes picks up the rest. And that means a lot of driving; a lot of time.

                                                        I would LOVE to have a grocery store near me that offered all that I am looking for. The closest I've found is Sunset in Highland Park, but the prices there are obscene. Treasure Island has a lot of what I like, but it's run-ins with the health department make them pretty undesireable for anything but pre-packaged foods.

                                                        I think the chains have ruined grocery stores by limiting what's available. The trend toward prepared foods (loaded with salt, corn syrup and additives) is disgusting. It's hard to find a decient variety of quality, fresh foods in a single location.

                                                        1. Interesting thread- seems to prove that preferences are based largely on individual stores of the two chains. Have kids with families in Houston and Walnut Creek: both towns have both Safeway and Albertsons stores. They both much preferred Safeway to Albertsons, but liked local independent grocers far more than either.

                                                          Safeway, of course, bought Dominick's and Albertsons bought Jewel. Seems the trend holds true- I prefer Dom's to Jewel, but basically despise both. Actually, the house brand "Safeway Select" which Dom's carries, usually marks a quite good product.

                                                          Fortunately I can get to a Whole Foods in Willowbrook and a TJ's in Downers Grove, so I'm OK. I also go to Boback's - Polish - supermarket here in Burr Ridge for very good meat and deli at VERY reasonable prices, and Casey's meat market in LaGrange for topnotch meat at topnotch prices.

                                                          Both Boback's and Casey's have opened elaborate, upscale full-line supermarkets in Naperville. These are well worth a visit if you're anywhere close. Also, there's a great fish market in the small shoppping center on Washington Street, just north of 75th Street, where the new Casey's is. (Come to think of it, there's a TJ's there, too.) Makes for a great food-shopping destination!

                                                          Speaking of those infuriating favored-shopper cards:

                                                          The Wall Street Journal did a study 2-3 years ago in a half-dozen cities across the country that showed they are not just a pain in the rear, but a rip-off as well. The WSJ made up a family grocery list and shopped it, in each city, at a chain that used cards and at one that did not. In EVERY comparison, the complete list cost more at the card-using store than at the non-card store, despite the big "bargains" on a few items on special for card-holders. They shopped Domionick's in the Chicago comparison; I don't remember the non-card store.


                                                          1. Jewel (Albertsons) edges out Dominick's (Safeway) for the best of a bad thing award. I probably frequent the Jewel once a year, on average, and then only under protest and briefly.

                                                            Ghastly prices, horrendous check-out lines and mediocre product leave me continuously amazed that these two local brands of national chains retain the obviously strong following that they seem to enjoy, although I understand that many folks choices are limited by demographics and geography.

                                                            Euro Fresh (Palatine) and Valli Produce (Arlington Heights and/or Hoffman Estates) are far better alternatives in our neck of the woods.

                                                            1. Jewel, surprisingly, usually has better prices on the cheap Bourbon and Vodka that I favor than Dominick's or even the local independent liquor stores.

                                                              Otherwise, everything at Jewel seems to be more expensive than anyplace else. When they put my favored paint-thinner-grade Bourbon on sale, they quote a different "real" price every time. I used to get it for $8.99, and lately it's running about $15.99 for the large economy size "on sale". You think you got problems with gas prices?????

                                                              I get my wines at TJ's and, until I sell my business for the umpteen millions that the real estate brokers dangle before me, I stay in the $6.00 range. If the sale pans out, it's HELLO
                                                              Chateau Margeaux!


                                                              1. Before moving to McLean, Virginia, I lived for many years in Hyde Park. Then I went north to Lakeview and the Gold Coast.

                                                                Yes, Chicago grocercies are shockingly bad compared to their chain counterparts in LA and WashDC. (NYC is a special case.)

                                                                I'm surprised more people don't shot at Treasure Island. Great prices and great selection.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: xtopher

                                                                  eeek...T.I. is so declasse'. They make a mockery of "European"-style and ethnic imports---fyi: T.I. woos the demographic supposedly enamoured of such things. What I love most, tho' are the irascible(and that's putting it lightly) unshaven, tattooed, NON-hipster, (southsiders?)workers who'd as soon spit on you as look at you. Gold Coast/Lincoln Park locations only...while supplies last. ...um...they lurk around the store...shirts(with ties?) untucked making innapropriate remarks in the presence of customers...they simply have an unsavory vibe...Jewel's employees I can handle...there are those that don't give a damn, but there are also employees across all backgrounds who are genuinely welcoming and friendly...I hate that Jewel forces them to hawk the "item of the day." Er...but, Treasure Island...there's such a nepotistic? disconnect between the supposed "upscale" ambience of the store and it's uniformly, rude and hostile workforce...it's almost worth it to shop there just to see what they'll do next. (I once saw a worker ram a stooped, elderly woman in the head with a box he was carrying then proceed to curse her for being -in his way- in the first place once out of *her* earshot).

                                                                  So, yeah...I shop at the two T.I.'s near me mainly because their wine selection *tends* to be better than the Jewels(oy veh)...and, whatever one might think of Boars Head products...T.I. carries them exclusively and at least they're more palatable than the filler-fostered dreck of the aforementioned supermarket.

                                                                  I shop at Jewel, T.I., T.J.'s, and, once in a blue moon, Whole Foods(funny...growing up in Houston, I remember WF back when it was a stinky hippy vitamin joint...tiny and packed with desultory vegetarians chomping on sprouts...wow! look how they've grown!)...as well as the odd carneceria and various Chinese and S.E. Asian stores.

                                                                  just to pile on...I grew up with tons of supermarket chains and flagships that even back in the early 80's would put Chicago's hellholes to shame...visiting folks in Texas there are *still* great alternative markets that compare in size to Jewel, etc...but, offer the diversity of Fox n Obel, WF, TJ's, etc combined. Too bad Chicago can't get it's sh*t together, but that's nothing new.

                                                                2. Fellow Texan here, Aelph -- so I remember WF when it still had its dirty hippie ambience.

                                                                  My experiences with the TI on LSD and the one on Wells were nothing like yours. I never really noticed their supposed European ambience. Just a decent place to shop that had many brands/items I didn't have to go to a specialty store to find

                                                                  If you want European ambience, come to the McLean, Virginia, Balducci's. There's nothing like watching the butcher carry on a screaming match (in French) with one of the customers. Then he very politely turns to me, apologizes for her "ignorance" and ask how he may serve me.

                                                                  You'll NEVER see that at TI.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: xtopher

                                                                    oh...by "European ambience" I mean something T.I. attempts to foster on it's own(signage/certain products)...not the actuality...which is far, far different

                                                                    I don't own a car so rarely get North of Roger's Park, but the few times I've been I've very much appreciated the Russian markets and, of course, Mitsuwa. Even just Patel Bros. on Devon and the produce market next door(I always forget the name) are worth the odd trip. I mainly stick to Uptown for my SE Asian and Chinese needs, but will sometimes be seen doing similar shopping in Chinatown after a leisurely lunch at Lao Sze Chuan.

                                                                    Having said all that...I do most of my grocery shopping @ Jewel[again, no car(thank god)...and I can walk it...even in Winter...it's good excercise] and have recently gotten into Peapod for really big bulk items.

                                                                    I'm equidistant from the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park T.I.'s so hit them for wine when Wine.com runs low or my Sam's stash is looking thin. I don't care for the employees(save for the odd deli counter worker), but I just suck it up.

                                                                  2. Oh for God's sake, THEY BOTH SUCK! - so just go (and despite the ov=bvious invasion of privacy) get both the Prefered Card (Jewel) and the Fresh Card (Doms) and DO read the weekly sale fliers and shop the SALE items (don't let them get the bestter of you in the "loss-leader" scheme.

                                                                    I've lost track of all of the numerous posts on this question (just wish a few more of you would respond when I post a question) but some have suggested that these socalled discount/insider cards only serve to mask inflated prices. I absolutely agree. But if you MUST go to one of these two chains (and the lesser or evils argument can cut both ways)
                                                                    and unless you are either a total purist or bizzarro masochist - you surely have a few items on your shopping list that call for a Jewel or Dominicks experience...

                                                                    Here's my verdict - 95% of the time, I'd go with the Dominicks - on virtually every measure of consideration. and considering the fact that I can walk to Jewel and require a car for Dominicks - that comes very close to high praise.

                                                                    Go to specialty grocers and markets (we love the Oakton Market in Skokie for everything except the mundane like say, kitty litter.)

                                                                    1. I have shopped at both in the past, and I find Dominicks more expensive for the same products as Jewel. I really dislike Trader Joes, and Whole Foods, I think they are way too high priced for what they offer..good advertising/marketing plan though..theyve got some loyal customers who believe..

                                                                      I go to farmers markets in the summer for produce, Supreme Lobster for seafood, and a meat packing plant in Aurora for meats...for canned goods, etc I shop @ Krogers, or Hi-V, I dont live in Chicago, but in the far SW suburbs.

                                                                      1. I live in the Joliet/Shorewood area.

                                                                        I would agree with the others who have said that this opinion is really specific only to the store at that location. In my area I've found the slow meat turnover at both Dominick's (59 &Black and Essington Rd) to be reason to stop shopping at both stores. The way both of these stores run their meat department is both irresponsible and insulting to its consumers. Fruits and vegetables are also below average at best.

                                                                        The Jewel stores in my area are OK. I've found you get poor meat (although they are better than they used to be), unacceptable vegetables (although better than Dominick's) and forgettable fruit.

                                                                        Caputo's has a decent selection of fruits and vegetables. But what I go to Caputo's for is their imports...great selection. I love the San Marzano plums :). Cheese and deli are decent...but I really go there for the imports. (I also shop at Ambrosino's (in Shorewood) but Caputo's has a much better selection and variety. I've found the meat and seafood at Caputo's to be nothing special. When they first opened I was hoping the meat would be much better than it is...they also have a underwhelming selection of veal products. The seafood has never looked fresh. Certainly better than Dominick's or Jewel...but nothing I wanted to buy.

                                                                        Tischlers meat is a good stand-by for consistently decent meat. Not great...but always pretty good.

                                                                        I live in Joliet...but find myself driving to the Whole Foods (off 83) for most of my meat and seafood. Luckily I could choose my driving times to miss most of the traffic. They also have a nice selection of vegetables but I've been turned off by the fruits they carry there. Oh yeah...they also have a nice cheese section too.

                                                                        For everyday meat...Sam's will beat both Dominick's and Jewel. But I've found that not everything is to my liking. I like the Rib-eye (or roast) but have found the strip has a bit of a metallic taste as opposed to the decent beef flavor of the Rib-eye. Sam's also has some nice cheeses as well. But like everything there...its spotty.

                                                                        All in all...I hate the way I shop! I drive to three to four different grocery stores when doing my day to day shopping. At least I'll get some garden vegetables come summer :) and the fresh markets for the vegetables I don't grow.

                                                                        g'day all!


                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: gonefishin

                                                                          Ill have to chime in as another northwest suburbanite and second the long post near that top. Woodmans is fantastic and much cheaper than anything else around (Algonquin, etc area). I started as a Jewel buyer from tradition, moved on to Meijer and once the Woodmans opened have never looked back. You have to have a plan tho, or you'll be in there for hours.

                                                                          I stop in the Dominicks a few times a year and grab some of their brand items for something different. The one at Huntley/Randall is always empty. I have no idea how they stay open.

                                                                        2. Very good thread!
                                                                          Living in the western suburbs limits our choices somewhat. Meals are prepared with a specific ingredient list and the shopping is done according to that. Since Dominick's in our area is bigger with a wider selection it gets most of our business. However, there are frequent stops at Trader Joes plus quick stops at Jewel. The other store that is local is Springbrook Market. While not the most pristine grocer on the block, they carry a wide assortment of ethnic foods which is a plus. Several local meat markets round out the rest of the shopping. To answer the question though, I'd say Jewel is worse than Dominicks.

                                                                          1. It's worth noting that most of the posts in this topic are almost three years old. During that period, some of the Jewel and Dominick's stores have been closed, others remodeled, and competing alternatives have arisen as well.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                              But they still both suck - even the new and improved Dominicks, although not quite as bad as it used to be. Some things are timeless...

                                                                              I always shop elsewhere when possible.

                                                                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                I hadn't noticed that the thread was that old.

                                                                                The Dominick's (on 59 and Black) had actually gotten noticeably worse after their big remodel. Before this the Shorewood store was much better than the Essington Rd. location. After the remodel it is on par with the Essington Rd location.


                                                                              2. Like many people, I shop in a variety of places, including an independent grocer specializing in produce, a specialty butcher, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Costco, and Sam's Club, as well as Dominick's and Jewel. Although the purpose of this topic is clearly to bash Dominick's and Jewel, they are an important part of my food shopping, and I LIKE the fact that they are there. Here are things that Dominick's and Jewel offer, that I appreciate:

                                                                                1. Sale prices on brand-name packaged goods. On packaged goods for which I prefer to buy name brands - soft drinks, laundry detergent, breakfast cereal, ice cream, etc - the prices at Dominick's and Jewel, when those items are on sale, are the best *anywhere* (yes, even lower than the warehouse clubs). This fact, alone, would be enough for me to be happy shopping there.

                                                                                2. Lowest regular prices on some items. For example, my local Dominick's has the lowest prices in a ten-mile radius on Maytag bleu cheese, which they sell in their deli. They sell "artisan" breads that are just as good as those at Whole Foods, but consistently cost less.

                                                                                3. Generic packaged goods. For many packaged goods (e.g. frozen vegetables), I have no allegiance to specific brands, and Dominick's and Jewel offer products under their house brands that have the lowest prices anywhere, even lower than the brand names on sale.

                                                                                4. Advertising. I receive flyers in the mail and in the newspaper showing the sale prices at Dominick's and Jewel, and this makes it easy for me to know when items go on sale, to help plan my shopping so that I can buy them at the lowest prices.

                                                                                5. Packages of all sizes. Dominick's and Jewel carries packages in a variety of sizes, so I can buy as much as I need - big sizes to stock up, small sizes when I don't need much. The warehouse clubs only sell many items in huge, industrial sizes, and smaller stores often don't have larger, money-saving sizes. When I need to buy staples like flour and eggs, they offer the best prices for the package sizes I need.

                                                                                6. Variety. At a single store, I can buy everything from packaged goods, to produce and meats, to frozen foods, to pharmacy prescriptions, to refills on my propane tank, to greeting cards, etc. This variety means that I have the option to do as much of my shopping in one place as I prefer.

                                                                                7. Geographical convenience. I can walk to the Dominick's in my neighborhood. It is the *only* food store I use that I can walk to. And whenever I am driving anywhere, there is almost always a Dominick's and Jewel on the way. If I'm in the middle of a recipe and I find there's something I need, I can be there and back in 5-10 minutes.

                                                                                8. Hours. I can shop there any time I want - early or late, I never have to worry about what hours they are open (except for a handful of holidays).

                                                                                9. Clean, publicly-available restrooms. Although it's not that common that I need to take a break when shopping, it's nice to know that they offer this convenience. Most stores don't.

                                                                                10. Customer service. The staff at my local Dominick's recognizes me, greets me by name, and always offers help to the car, even if I'm only buying a handful of items.

                                                                                11. Sunday newspapers. The availability of the New York Times on Sundays at various stores in my area was always hit-or-miss if you didn't buy it early in the morning. Since they started carrying it at my Dominick's a few years ago, it's usually there, even later in the afternoon.

                                                                                To sum up, Jewel and Dominick's fill an important part of my shopping experience, and I am glad they are there.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                  I, too am a NW suburb shopper--and my favorite places to shop are Meijer, Woodmans and a couple of local markets (for meat, produce and deli items)

                                                                                  Meijer has *much* better sales on name brand items than Jewel or Dominicks. Like nsxtasy, I am not brand loyal on a lot of items and Meijer's house brands are far more reasonable than either of the two biggies. Their loss leader sales puts J and D to shame. I find their customer service and convenience to far outpace most stores. They're open 24 hours, the pharmacy has a free antibiotic program and the employees in my local store are unfailingly helpful and accomodating. The local Jewel's customer service area, in contrast, seems like an afterthought. They've been relegated to a tiny counter. The rare times I shop there, there's also the obligatory rote suggestive selling of the 'featured item' by the checkout clerk.

                                                                                  I'm always amused when I read Jewel's deli prices. I can still remember when they made the switch in their ads to pricing by the half pound. The local places we go have the same items as Jewel, and the same pricing...kind of. The locals' price is for one pound, and Jewel is for the half pound!

                                                                                  Woodman's is amazing for a number of items. Though I don't usually see good bargains on fresh meats, their sausages (or the wall 'o' sausage, as we call it) such as brats, hot dogs, etc are very reasonable with a lot of variety--heavy on the Wisconsin brands. I find frozen food/ice cream prices to be below many stores and a lot of variety in the grocery and dairy sections. They have a good ethnic and health food section and their liquor department is varied, interesting and a LOT cheaper than Jewel or Dominicks.

                                                                                  I used to be a Jewel and Dominick's shopper exclusively, and there used to be a time when they were affordable. It's rather a strange phenomenon..as more competitive stores like Woodman's and Meijer came to the area, these two stores seemed to increase their prices rather than try to compete. They certainly aren't the neighborhood friendly stores they used to be, and neither are they as upscale as I *think* they want their image to be. But then, I'm decidedly a downscale kinda person--I enjoy a good bargain. And I actually still miss both Omni and Jewel Grand Bazaar!

                                                                                  1. re: jersette

                                                                                    I am in a Jewel stre four times a week - at the TCF Banks, Last year, I spent under $100 at Jewel and even less at Dominick's. My wife shops at Dominick's a lot more as so much of the "fresh" items are market down as they are getting close to expiration.

                                                                                    Woodman's does a very good job on a number of items. Unlike the others (and ESPECIALLY unlike Trader Joe's and Whole Paycheck and Costco), they actually recognize that fine quality food products can be sourced in the Midwest and they SOURCE a substantial amount of their purchase from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.

                                                                                    Meijer's does a really good job with their private label brands and have great sales. However, unlike the days when they were only in Grand Rapids and the Detroit areas, there is very little "thrifty" in them there acres. They are actually almost as expensive as the Kroger/Safeway/SuperValu oligarchy that dominates the grocery landscape.

                                                                                    1. re: jlawrence01

                                                                                      Meijer as expensive as Kroger? Even to say "almost" is contrary to my
                                                                                      experience at both stores. I shop at Kroger if I'm starving or dehydrated
                                                                                      and there's no other option within 20 miles, which adds up to about once
                                                                                      every 3-4 months. Kroger is incredibly high-priced unless you're willing to
                                                                                      carry a "shopper's card", as if it's an exclusive club. Basically, I want the
                                                                                      cheapest edibles I can find, and if it's barely palatable, I'll just toss a half-bottle
                                                                                      of picante sauce on it. It's Aldi's and Meijer for me, and choosing otherwise is an exercise in class-conciousness.

                                                                                      1. re: choou

                                                                                        A lot of it depends on the market. If you are in Cincinnati where there is relatively little competition, Meijer's may be cheaper. However, in Chicagoland, I do not see any significant savings by going to Meijer EXCEPT in a few category - canned goods, seafood and milk. Produce is generally as expensive if not more so.

                                                                                        We shop independent supermarkets throughout the Chicago area as well as Wisconsin based employee-owned Woodman's all of which are substantially cheaper than Jewel, Dominick's, and Meijers.

                                                                                        Do realize that food prices are very localized. Our local Jewel was charging $1.79/doz for Grade A large eggs vs.$ 0.99/doz at the Jewel in the next town ... until an independent and a Wal-Mart Supercenter helped them adjust their prices downward. Competition is a beautiful thing.

                                                                                2. I dont like, or shop at either. But if forced to I would go to Jewel over Dominicks.

                                                                                  I go to Costco for bulk items, baby formula, frozen fish & crab legs. Super Walmart for canned goods. My local butcher for chicken,pork, and beef. Supreme Lobster for some seafood items. Caputos for deli items, produce, and imported goods. Local roadside farmstands, and farmers markets for produce during the summer. My local liquor store for beer, & tequila. These are not weekly stops for shopping, some are bi-weekly.