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Mar 5, 2008 09:33 PM

Anybody Else Hate Berkeley Bowl's "Improvements"?

So now Berkeley Bowl looks, in the Cheese Dept. and that whole end of the store, like Whole Foods or Piedmont Grocery. I can't stand it. Actually, I wouldn't mind if I weren't afraid that this is a trend and that soon the whole place will have those stainless steel coolers and lots of packaged food to go.

Yuck!!! If I had any brains I would have gone to the Info counter and asked if this was it or if more "fabulous upgrades" were in the offing.

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  1. Yeah the cheese island is a space-sucking monster. The soup thing is an improvement although weird. I don't know, I thought they did what they did for the isle space and because cheese is a high mark-up item. Seems like there's less bread or the bread section is smaller. Any way, I'm still going. I'm not a cheeser and everything else is pretty much the same.

    1. I'll admit to having a "wtf" moment when I walked in there one morning last month
      and they were jackhammering up the floor for the new plumbing. But I think I like
      what they did. The main advantage of the new arrangement is when the 15-or-fewer
      checkout line snakes all the way back to the beer section, it's routed behind the cheese
      and far away from the bread. This makes things a lot less insane for bread shoppers.

      1. I hate it too. They came up with a way to make the store even more claustrophobic.

        The Bowl never was all that of a place to get cheese. And there is still the same disinterested staff as in the smaller comment. My highpoint there was trying to get a piece of cheese cut and them refusing because it was available pre-cut in the case. This is just a job to these guys and they care nothing about cheese and know even less.

        An aside ... the Crane Lake sparkling wine is an excellent inexpensive bottle $4.99. It has a nice crisp citrusy flavor.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          Wow! I've seen that Crane Lake wine by the checkout counters for it seems like years. Thanks for the info!

        2. I don't think they've dropped any breads or for that matter any products, they've just switched to taller shelves.

          I figure they wouldn't invest all that money in the cheese counter if they weren't going to improve their selection, but we'll see. Even if that's their plan, it's hard for grocery stores to retain first-rate cheese people.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Yeah, there's actually a few new breads lurking next to the narrow center refrigerated aisle. Some new pies too.

            1. re: rworange

              I was only commenting on the look of all the changes...reminded me just a bit too much of Whole Foods and what Piedmont Grocery has done to make itself into a cramped hellhole.

              1. re: oakjoan

                Piedmont Grocery has long been a cramped hellhole -- is it worse now? Honestly, I was at the Bowl a couple of weeks ago and never noticed a change. But then, that whole area was packed and I skirted around it.

            1. re: Agent 510

              Actually, I stopped by there and saw what they did. I don't think it's really any better or least during peak hours, that end of the store is going to be a crowded mess no matter what.

              The best "improvement" BBowl can make is building that second location to absorb those crowds.