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Will Owen Apr 7, 2010 11:32 AM

Mrs. O had some work to do at one of the Claremont colleges Monday and Tuesday, and public transportation being what it is - or rather isn't - I drove her there and back both days. Hadn't been out there in a few years, and was surprised to see a nice-looking grocery store, called Sprouts, at Foothill and Mountain, so yesterday morning I dropped in.

I have a vague recollection of reading about the various chains and their brands, including this one, but don't remember what its affiliations are. I must say, though, that whoever it is is doing a good job on this one. It seemed at first acquaintance to be a Henry's clone - same look, same layout, same kind of stuff in general - but after spending some time there, and not a whole lot of money, it was apparent that this store is what Henry's would be if it were really as good as they claim to be. The produce was all very good, very fresh, and priced for the most part well under Ralphs', and the fresh meat and fish appeared to be of Whole Foods quality at supermarket rates, or better; some large and beautiful fillets of Alaskan cod were offered at $4.79/lb, undercutting Vons' usual sale price of $5 and offering much prettier fish. I was just going to get a few token items that were on my list anyway, but wound up getting in addition some fresh Polish sausage and lamb chops, some gorgeous radishes, plus some store-brand crackers and canned goods, all for around ten bucks less than I'd expect from a Ralphs trip. The cleanliness of the place, the nice layout, and the open friendliness of the people there were all icing on the cake. And when I picked up Mrs. O in the evening of course she had to go see it too, so they got a bit more of our money.

That is too far from Pasadena to make it a regular grocery stop, but we do go out that way often enough to include it in the journey, and certainly will. We checked online and that is the nearest location to us, though we do get to Orange and to Culver City every so often as well. I'd like to get some feedback from anyone else who's gone to any of these, too.

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  1. ChinoWayne RE: Will Owen Apr 7, 2010 12:16 PM

    Their web site indicates that you will be getting a local store in Pasadena some time this year.

    1. h
      heckonwheels RE: Will Owen Apr 7, 2010 12:27 PM

      We tried the Sprouts you're talking about in Claremont. Very similar to Henry's Markets, which was started by the same guy. Ok, good for vitamins, a decent meat counter, hit 'n miss on the produce. I still prefer TJ's.

      1 Reply
      1. re: heckonwheels
        JEN10 RE: heckonwheels Apr 7, 2010 02:31 PM

        I like the meat dept. at our local place in Torrance. I also love that they go out of their way to mark Gluten Free Items.

      2. s
        sparkareno RE: Will Owen Apr 7, 2010 02:56 PM

        Other than their homemade sausages and bin foods, I am meh on them. I don't think their produce is that great or that well-priced (Torrance store). I do use their bin foods and especially the bin spices a lot. I think meat is a little pricey.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sparkareno
          Will Owen RE: sparkareno Apr 7, 2010 06:07 PM

          The reason I got those lamb chops was that they were two-thirds the price I've been seeing at Ralphs. The sausages were the cheapest in-house fresh ones I've seen here, so I got two as an experiment. They were leaner than I like, but good flavor. The big navels were 77¢/lb., which is 99 Ranch-level prices. Radishes were 49¢/bunch, and gorgeous (if you're nuts for radishes). The Monrovia Henry's, the only one I've been to, has occasional good specials, but I find the produce overpriced and tired.

        2. OCAnn RE: Will Owen Apr 7, 2010 09:49 PM

          There's a Sprouts in Brea now too, and we thought the same thing; that it was a LOT like Henrys. We asked at the checkout line and were told that Henry's is now owned by Smart & Final and that Sprouts was still held by the Boney family.

          Smart & Final
          10113 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

          3 Replies
          1. re: OCAnn
            mikester RE: OCAnn Apr 8, 2010 04:21 PM

            Oh, this makes sense ! There used to be a Boney's in Del Mar years ago when I lived there, and it was fantastic - this was before TJ's had proliferated, so it was truly a revelation at the time.

            There is a Sprouts in Tustin (in the location previously occupied by Whole Foods). I like it and agree about their sausages and the bulk items, in particular.

            Also they have some good deals on the block Parmesan - it's not Reggiano but for the money it's a decent substitute particularly for things like pizzas.

            1. re: mikester
              OCAnn RE: mikester Apr 8, 2010 04:32 PM

              I believe there's still a Boney's in O'side (off the 5 @ O'side Blvd). Huge, bare-bones kinda place, but with lots of cheap produce.

              1. re: OCAnn
                mikester RE: OCAnn Apr 9, 2010 08:33 AM

                Hmm, interesting, sounds like it's changed. The one in Del Mar was more like a Trader Joe's in size and style but with a bit more of an organic/food co-op sensibility. But this was way back when, like 25 years ago or so.

          2. a
            attran99 RE: Will Owen Apr 7, 2010 11:24 PM

            I'm glad you enjoyed the store. I frequent the Claremont Spouts at least twice a month. The prices are reasonable considering I don't have any Asian markets close enough to my house, and the produce lasts much longer than anything I can buy at Albertsons or Vons. I do enjoy the meat and seafood, and have been known to pick up a sandwich from the deli for my lunch at work. I also agree with the friendly and helpful staff...they once had a sale on broccoli and ran out, but graciously offered the organic broccoli to me at the sale price...how cool is that? They also offer a $0.05 discount per reusable shopping bag used to bag up your groceries.

            1. parker394 RE: Will Owen Apr 7, 2010 11:44 PM

              I love Sprouts Claremont, I'm there every other day. Fish is very good and the produce is top notch too.

              1. c
                carter RE: Will Owen Apr 8, 2010 07:57 AM

                Sprouts should be opening soon in Thousand Oaks at 600 Moorpark, and one is under construction in Calabasas at the Lost Hills offramp, near the HQ of Cheesecake Factory.
                Hope they are better than Henry's, which had really tired produce in the Woodland Hills location.

                6 Replies
                1. re: carter
                  Dommy RE: carter Apr 8, 2010 08:53 AM

                  They are also opening up in the Old Circuit City Location in Culver City! :D

                  1. re: Dommy
                    Will Owen RE: Dommy Apr 8, 2010 11:43 AM

                    Dommy, what's the location for that? An approximation would be just dandy...

                    1. re: Will Owen
                      waveandwen RE: Will Owen Apr 8, 2010 11:44 AM

                      And another one will be opening in Valencia in the old Mervyn's store.

                      1. re: Will Owen
                        annapurna7 RE: Will Owen Apr 8, 2010 11:57 AM

                        Sepulveda and Slauson

                        1. re: Will Owen
                          Dommy RE: Will Owen Apr 8, 2010 12:16 PM

                          It's on Sepulveda on the corner of Slauson, not far from the 405. I bike past every Friday and they look like they have at LEAST 1 month more before they open (There was lot interior and exterior work to do). Expect a FULL report once they open. It's walking distance from our home and we are SO looking forward to their bulk bins, sausages and are crossing our fingers on their seafood.... (We get our meats, produce and provisions at other locations we are absolutely happy with)


                          1. re: Dommy
                            Will Owen RE: Dommy Apr 8, 2010 01:35 PM

                            I'm going to give their sausages a broader testing, since they're so cheap, but while the Polish grilled nicely it was rather dry and tough done that way. I'll want to try browning them on the grill and then finishing in the pot, either with peppers and onions or sauerkraut.

                            I still wish I'd had room left on the week's menu to get some of that beautiful cod!

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