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Opinions about Sprouts

e
EclecticEater Aug 26, 2009 09:14 PM

Recently found out about, and visited, Sprouts in Irvine. What's the concensus about it? Compared to Henrys? Compared to Wholesome Foods? Compared to the produce place on 17th Street in Costa Mesa?

  1. j
    JeffSD Aug 30, 2009 08:33 AM

    My only experience with Sprouts was with the Irvine market, where I bought some truly terrible fish. I think the Henry's has better selection in general. I see no reason to go back to Sprouts, even though they opened a market fairly near me recently in Orange. I frequently shop at Wholesome Choice and less frequently at Bristol Farms.

    1. t
      torty Aug 29, 2009 11:22 PM

      For something names "Sprouts" it has what I consider 2nds of produce. Maybe the price is cheap but so is the quality. My closest one is Torrance. I gave it a few chances- nope!

      10 Replies
      1. re: torty
        DrBruin Aug 30, 2009 07:49 AM

        Where do you go for fresh produce in the south bay (other than a farmer's market)?

        1. re: DrBruin
          r
          Rizza Aug 30, 2009 06:43 PM

          Sorry, but IMHO in Torrance the only really good place to get everything is the Farmer's Market. It is just so incredible, that it makes it hard to shop anywhere else. You might stumble across something good at the Albertson's on Hawthorne (an occasional very good deal - this Albertson's only). Grow produce in Manhatten Beach is extremely good, but it's not in Torrance (and not as much variety or good prices). Mitsuwa on Sepulveda can have some very good gems, but again not all around great freshness. I hate to say Bristol Farms. I go there in a pinch...but the prices!!! I'm interested to hear where others are shopping.

          1. re: DrBruin
            b
            buttermarblepopcorn Aug 30, 2009 11:13 PM

            I live in Torrance, and I sort of hate to admit this, but I most often buy my fresh produce at Trader Joe's! I'd prefer to buy it at Whole Foods, but the prices are just overwhelming for me, even back when I had a job.

            The good news is that lately -- for the past several months, actually -- I've been buying more and more produce at the Farmer's Market.

            Sometimes I buy fruit at Costco, but only stuff that doesn't go bad quickly -- such as oranges and apples... oh, and definitely their melons; Costco has great melons.

            Bristol Farms, price-wise, is up there with Whole Foods, so I'd never go there unless I needed some obscure food that just wasn't sold anywhere else.

            Regarding the actual topic of the thread, I'd gone to Sprouts a few times, and not only did they seem to carry a lot of "normal," non-healthy grocery items at typical supermarket prices, the whole "healthy" aspect of the place seemed rather superficial to me. It's hard to put my finger on this vibe, esp. since I haven't been back after two visits a couple years ago, but I kind of feel that buying fresh organic produce at Sprouts is like buying premium cat food at Ralphs. (Also, it seemed kind of dusty/dirty in there, and not in a good, hippie kind of way.)

            1. re: buttermarblepopcorn
              w
              winstars Dec 26, 2009 05:55 PM

              Sprouts produce does have a 'second division' kinds feel to it. Good but not great looking stuff. Like others here, I go Whole Foods or Bristol Farms only if I want to spend $$$ for their quality fruit or veg. Ranch 99 actually rocks out in produce as long as you know what it is... I extensively used their fish department for my Christmas Eve dinner and it was fresh and inexpensive. I am officially forgetting about Quality Seafood (and I live in Redondo!!!) and that Santa Mpnica fish place whose name escapes me that most people here like but say it was better before they moved and/or is too expensive for what you get.... Ranch 99 had some beautiful fish and the 'fishmongers' actually could filet a fish without destroying it. Some salmon that my SO brought home one day was OK but not as good as the regular farmed salmon at Costco for instance. Finally the Torrance Farmers Market on Tuesday and Saturday at Wilson High School is to me the best one in the South Bay. Now they have some great stuff there. And, unlike Santa Monica or even Hollywood, the ability to make several trips BACK TO YOUR CAR to empty your sacks and go back for MORE make Torrance the big winner to me!!!

              1. re: winstars
                Das Ubergeek Dec 27, 2009 08:28 PM

                The Santa Monica fish place is Santa Monica Seafood and it has moved firmly into the yellow zone here on CH.

                I love the Japanese markets in Torrance/Gardena for the fish, especially high-end fish. Marukai has better everyday fish and better prices, but for chu-toro or o-toro you cannot beat Mitsuwa.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                  w
                  winstars Dec 27, 2009 10:55 PM

                  Right on with the Japanese markets. Is it Mitsuwa thats on Western and Carson. That place rocks big time. (Bad with names sorry) I have actually spent like $350.00-400,00 there TWICE buying various sushi and sashimi for "my sushi chef" to come to my house for some tremendous sushi parties. Truly great stuff and I think I fed 12 people each time. And their food court makes me feel like I am back in Osaka or Nagoya...

                  It's funny that SMF has gotten the yellow card here. On Christmas Eve one of my guest said, "you should check out this place Santa Monica Seafood"... Because I now frequent this site, I was able to smile politely and and completely disregard inside what he was saying...

                  And Sprouts can be good but sometimes only real average stuff!!!

                  1. re: winstars
                    Das Ubergeek Dec 28, 2009 07:53 AM

                    SMS used to be the Westside answer to where you buy fish when you can't hack IMP downtown or the drive to Fish King in Glendale. Then they moved and my one visit was cut short when I smelled the place and saw fish lying on fish rather than on ice.

                    The place on Western just north of Carson is Mitsuwa. If you haven't been to the two great izakaya directly on the corner (Torihei and Musha), you are missing a seminal experience—make sure to get Kyoto-style oden at Torihei, and don't miss the buta-no kakuni (braised pork belly) at Musha.

                    The Marukai I normally go to out there (when I don't go to Costa Mesa, which is much closer to me) is on Redondo Beach Blvd between Western and the 110. It's actually called Marukai Pacific Market.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                      c
                      carter Dec 28, 2009 07:30 PM

                      come on folks, Sprouts and Henry's Marketplace are both owned and operated by Smart & Final, with overlapping operations. To separate the two is heresy. Neither one is worthy of your time or money.

                      1. re: carter
                        Das Ubergeek Dec 28, 2009 07:52 PM

                        When it comes to store maintenance, I make l'havdil. Henry's is better-kept; Sprouts, at least the two near me, are not as well-kept. I notice stuff from the top bin in the bottom bin at the bulk section; some of the bakery packages are past their sell-by date; produce looks sad. I don't have these problems as often at Henry's.

                        It could be local management, but there you have it.

                      2. re: Das Ubergeek
                        w
                        winstars Dec 29, 2009 12:00 AM

                        Thanks for the tips my friend, I'll check those two out. My sushi place is in that shopping center past the Mitsuwa... I went to izakaya Bincho at the pier in Redondo last week and it was a good as the reviews here. (although I would have liked to try it when they were able to have flames ie real yakatori) Said I read about his place here and he did not seem to grasp he is famous at least to some here. Maybe I will print out some of the tick tock of his travals as documented here...

                        Sprouts is owned by smart and final, OK now things make more sense (cents???) to me.

          2. i
            ilovetoeat0234 Aug 29, 2009 07:14 PM

            seems simliar to henry's

            i think the famers direct on 17th seems cheaper and it might just be me, but a bit fresher

            1. r
              Rizza Aug 27, 2009 10:54 AM

              I really wanted to love Sprouts in Torrance. The prices seem so good. But I think it may be because they compromise freshness. I bought about 6-8 pounds of chicken there for a party. The next day my refrigerator smelled awful. When I went to return it they would only give me store credit because I didn't have a recipt. I told them I did not wish to shop there any longer, but there was no way they would refund my money.

              Very few vegetables were local, the chicken was rotten, and the customer service was very poor. I will never shop there again.

              1. s
                sparkareno Aug 27, 2009 09:06 AM

                I don't think their prices are so great & I get far better produce at the farmer's market. I love their bulk bins though...great when I need just a little of something. They also have bulk spices which has saved me a lot of money when I only need 1/2 tsp of something. The other bargain is that their cilantro is 3 for $1. other than that..meh.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sparkareno
                  Das Ubergeek Aug 27, 2009 10:07 AM

                  You know, I'll give you that their bulk bins are great -- but they're the same as Henry's which is closer to me. As for cilantro, I shop at Mexican markets, so 3 for $1 is expensive to me. :)

                2. Das Ubergeek Aug 27, 2009 08:24 AM

                  It's OK. It's like Henry's, but more expensive and with slightly better produce. Not as good as Wholesome Choice, not as good (but much, much, MUCH cheaper) than Whole Paycheque in Tustin.

                  Haven't bought fish.

                  It's telling that I was looking at circulars from Jax and Sprouts in my local mailbox stuffer spam and some of the same items were features (pork shoulder, peaches) and Sprouts was nearly 3x the price of Jax.

                  1. DrBruin Aug 27, 2009 07:00 AM

                    I live near the Sprouts in Torrance.

                    I've never been to Henry's or 17th St.

                    I get the vibe it's a cross between my local farmer's market and trader joes.

                    I basically go there for produce. I find the prices very reasonable for produce.

                    Other notable regular purchases I make at Sprouts: 1, The fresh meat/fish counter is almost always good for a bargain...and it tastes fresh too. The meat/fish counter service is on par with Whole Foods. 2. I can always get Ezekial tortillas for my wife (my local TJ's will often run out). 3. The bulk bin selection for grains and candy is pretty good too.

                    1. Professor Salt Aug 26, 2009 09:57 PM

                      It strikes me as a Henry's clone, or a poor man's Whole Foods. Not quite as crunchy as Mother's Market, but I suppose there's an overlap with them too. That Sprouts has less selection than either Henry's or WF, by my eyeball.

                      I'm lucky to live in Irvine, where we have Wholesome Choice, Super Irvine (both Persian markets), two 99 Ranches in my immediate neighborhood, three Costcos within 10 miles, Trader Joe's galore, plus a Smart & Final down the street from me. Between all those, I've never really felt I needed to go to Sprouts.

                      1. g
                        Grubber Aug 26, 2009 09:25 PM

                        Love all of the sausages that are made fresh daily.

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