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Jun 9, 2009 05:04 PM

Substitute for Trader Joe's in Austin?

I'm a serious Trader Joe's junkie, thinking about moving to Austin but sad that one of my all-time favorite grocery stores has yet to open up in Texas. Is there anything even approximating the vibe of T.J.'s in Austin? Any other local stores/chains that are well-stocked with high-quality ingredients? Think Andronico's in Berkeley, Byerly's in Minneapolis, Fairway in NYC, Larry's in Seattle, Gelson's in L.A., etc.

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  1. I'm from Orange County and was blown away by the Central Market on Lamar. Once you go there, you'll forget all about Trader Joe's.

    Central Market
    4001 N Lamar Blvd # 100, Austin, TX

    1. Central Market is VERY Andronico's-esque. Not as cheap as Trader Joe's, but lots of wonderful things to buy and eat and ogle. There are two in Austin.

      1. I would say Wheatsville Co-op might give you a similar vibe as a Trader Joe's, although it doesn't have quite as much Trader Joe's Brand prepared (ready to eat) foods. Central Market and Whole Foods are better about the ready to eat stuff.

        1. Newflowers on Manchaca/Wm. Cannon?

          3 Replies
          1. re: NirvRush

            All of above do not have anywhere close to TJ prices. The cheese here is SO expensive, I SO miss TJ's!!!
            Newflower has some things a little less, but then some stuff is way more then other places too, so it all even out. There store brand is not organic either.

            1. re: familyof3

              Let's see, Trader Joe's has great prices, but in Orange County (or in the Bay Area, or Massachusetts, or Portland OR, all places I've lived near TJ's) the price of housing is 50-100% more, gas is 30-50 cents per gallon more, those states collect income tax, etc, etc. I love TJ's, there is one 6 blocks from my house, I go a few times a week; yes, some prices are very reasonable on wine, cheese, nutz, etc. And some of the frozen stuff is great. But I wouldn't base my decision to move somewhere because of the presence or not of TJs. Central Market has WAY more variety (and and is far better than Andronico's which I lived near in Berkeley, with far more reasonable prices) , and so cheeses might be a bit more, at least you don't pay state income tax, and so on. And here in Portland, I can't find passion fruit juice concentrate, okra (fresh or frozen), and even pay more for Portland beer here than HEB charges in Austin for the same exact bottle, regardless of the extreme distance and trucking charges. Oh, there's Fiesta Mart! Need a frozen goat or cow's head? TJ's rarely has those things. I'd say, if you like Austin, move, there...TJ's will eventually open there, and in the meantime, watch a few movies during that extra time you save not filing state tax returns, or tied up in OC traffic, or waiting in line at any state of CA gov't office....!!!! The buck or two per pound you save on imported cheese will be worth it...probably!

              1. re: sambamaster

                Wow Samba - tell us how you really feel!

                I do feel lucky to live 5 min from Central Market N. Especially when they first opened. Raised property values just for being there.

          2. There probably won' be a replacement, quality of life with some fantastic and not so affordable shopping vs high living expenses and fantastically cheap groceries. I'll take Austin anyday. That being said I have lived in SoCal for and was "spoiled" w/ TJ, but had to drive there as opposed to living in Austin Texas and being able to walk to the most fantastic store in the country. On that note, anyone been to Natural Grocer on 39th and Guadalupe?